By Sarah Hyland, Louisiana Bucket Brigade volunteer
The Bucket Brigade is turning to art to spread the word and inspire the struggle against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Taking our cues from the folks at MoveOn.org, whose beautiful pro-immigrant and pro-refugee signs you can find here, we have commissioned a few of our own signs, which anyone can print and display to say #NoBayouBridge! Check them out here.
As the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at Standing Rock in North Dakota reaches a showdown, we are keeping the water protectors in our thoughts – and also focusing our resistance on the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which would form the tail end of the DAPL.
Bayou Bridge would cross 700 bodies of water in Louisiana, notably Bayou Lafourche, a critical source of drinking water and the freshwater marshland of the Houma Nation, as well as the fragile Atchafalaya Basin ecosystem. Because it would interfere in water flow and drainage, the pipeline would increase exposure to the kind of catastrophic flooding the state experienced in August 2016 and would damage harvesting areas for wild crawfish.
Like DAPL, Bayou Bridge is owned by Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics - two companies with notoriously horrific safety records. Research by the Bucket Brigade shows that these companies had 69 reported accidents around the country in just the past two years. While these companies tout the pipeline’s supposed economy-boosting benefits, private interests will reap far greater profits than the surrounding communities. Louisiana deserves economic investment that does not come at cost of further degradation to our state’s precious cultural and natural resources.
In this moment, when rising seas are beginning to force Louisiana residents from their homes, we urgently need to move away from a fossil fuel-based economy and end the state’s dependent relationship with the oil and gas industry. Instead, we must envision alternative economic and environmental realities, in which we both create meaningful, dignified jobs AND protect and restore our wetlands. Furthermore, we must integrate an understanding of and response to climate change in all future infrastructure projects.
The hundreds of residents who have shown up at public hearings in Baton Rouge and Napoleonville are showing the way forward. They are passionately committed to rejecting Bayou Bridge – and to visioning this different future. Their creative, colorful homemade signs and banners remind us that art can be a vital organizing tool, making resistance visible and irresistible. Whether you make your own, or use ours, we hope you will stand up and say, #NoBayouBridge!