By WAFB Staff
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public hearing Thursday in Baton Rouge about the permit process for a Bayou Bridge pipeline.
“We've reached a point where people are kind of fed up with the oil industry's accidents with the destruction of our wetlands and destruction of coast, and so there's gotta’ be a point at which we say 'no more' and this is the moment,” said Anne Rolfes of Bucket Brigade.
“This is an extension of an existing pipeline and it's a little over 125 miles or so and it is simply going to improve safety by taking crude oil and crude oil products off of trucks, off of water-borne transportation, off of rails,” said Brigham McCown, former U.S. pipeline safety chief.
The pipeline would cross through 11 Louisiana parishes, including a large portion of the Atchafalaya Basin. Opposition is being mounted by environmental groups and in the local fishing industry, which wants better monitoring of oil operations.
Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association President Chris John issued a statement Thursday night in response to the hearing. The statement reads:
"The opposition at today's hearing on the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline's permit had very little to do with the merits of the application. Instead, these opposition groups took the opportunity to grandstand against the oil and gas industry in Louisiana. These opposition groups have very little technical experience or knowledge of the permitting process. Further, they ignored the applicant's efforts to be a good faith partner with the state. During the applicant's testimony, they reiterated their outreach to local communities and elected officials along the 24-inch pipeline's footprint.
The oil and gas industry remains committed to Louisiana and dedicated to following the technical guidelines of state and federal law, including the Department of Environmental Quality, which heard the permit's technical merits this evening. This project will have a great economic and employment impact to our region. Further, this project will be for Louisiana's benefit, improving safety, economic security, employment, and more tax revenue. As the oil and gas industry seeks to bring positive development to the area, it is our hope these opposition groups drop the theatrics and work with us for the betterment of Louisiana."