By Elizabeth Vowell
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
A coalition of environmentalists held a press conference Monday, February 13 to address the tragic Phillips 66 pipeline explosion just as state agencies are weighing the application for Energy Transfer Partners' proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline.
"The oil industry is already out there claiming that this accident is unrelated since it's a gas pipeline. This argument is phony, yet another excuse from the fossil fuel industry," said Anne Rolfes, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "Whatever the harm, from pollution and climate change to worker injuries and the destruction of our coast, this industry consistently seeks to evade responsibility for its actions."
The proposed 162-mile pipeline would run through 11 parishes.
"We cannot install another pipeline in Louisiana until we update the old equipment that's already out there and ensure the proper flow of water," said General Russel Honore of the GreenARMY in reference to crawfishermen's complaints that pipelines already in the Atchafalaya inhibit the flow of water and their catch.
However, supporters of the Bayou Bridge project say pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and gas. Industry spokesman Randy Hayden pointed to a recent incident involving interstate transport that created a dangerous traffic nightmare.
In August of 2012, a tanker truck carrying a highly flammable gas wrecked on I-10, causing a leak. The scene shut down traffic in Baton Rouge for 24 hours. With no safe way to offload the gas, the tanker had to be blown up right there on the highway. "If we take away pipelines, you can take that experience and multiply it a hundred times in a city like Baton Rouge,” said Hayden.
Hayden also said the Bayou Bridge Pipeline would exceed state and federal safety regulations. The DEQ is currently taking public comments on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Information on how to submit a public comment can be found here.
The press conference included representatives from The GreenARMY, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, 350 Louisiana, and BOLD Louisiana.