Bayou Bridge Sued by Landowner for Constructing Pipeline without Permission
(St. Martin Parish, LA)
The controversial Bayou Bridge Pipeline has again been taken to court for failure to abide by the law, this time for allegedly constructing its pipeline on private property without permission. Peter Aaslestad, who owns land in St. Martin Parish, filed a petition in the 16th Judicial District Court today seeking injunctive relief from ongoing construction activities on his property.
“It appears that Bayou Bridge has again cut corners to meet its aggressive deadline for pipeline construction, this time infringing upon Mr. Aaslestad’s constitutionally protected property rights,” stated Ms. Mitchell, counsel for Plaintiff. Today, Mr. Aaslestad is standing up to this corporate bully and asking the court to protect him from the alleged unlawful entry onto and damage to his property.
The Petition alleges that Bayou Bridge began construction without the consent of Mr. Aaslestad, one of several co-owners of the property. They have cleared trees and started excavation across the property, even though the company failed to obtain consent of all owners, as required by Louisiana state law, to access and clear cut the wooded property located in the treasured Atchafalaya Basin.
At no time did Mr. Aaslestad authorize the company’s entry upon, use of, or damage to his property. Today he asked the court to stop Bayou Bridge and their contractors from illegally trespassing on his property and infringing on his private property rights without legal consent from all the parcel’s landowners.
This suit is the latest in a flurry of legal and ethical issues plaguing the controversial pipeline’s construction across eleven parishes in south Louisiana. In spite of state court Judge Alvin Turner’s order invalidating the company’s coastal use permit for construction in the Coastal Zone, Bayou Bridge continued to construct in these communities. There have also been many reports of alleged construction violations across the pipeline route, including in the wetlands of the Atchafalaya Basin.
Bayou Bridge has used the power of eminent domain to seize private property along the pipeline route for its own benefit. Eminent domain is a tool traditionally used by governments for projects considered to be for the public good and that benefit everyone, like roads, bridges and schools. Eminent domain was not intended as a tool used by for-profit corporations to take private property for private benefit. Bayou Bridge has used eminent domain powers like a bully. It has sued and threatened landowners who don’t want Bayou Bridge to cut their timber, excavate and damage productive farmland and wooded property, and to install a polluting pipeline that decreases property value while increasing the potential for devastating property damage from a spill or explosion. One landowner was the target of a restraining order simply because she wanted the freedom to use and enjoy her property without interference or harmful impacts from a corporation with an egregious track record of violations and spills.
For more information about problems with pipeline construction, see updates from the Water Protectors’ monitoring trips in St. James Parish on the Louisiana Water Protectors Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/153859232082856/; As well as potential violations reported for construction in the Atchafalaya Basin, see the following story at: https://earthjustice.org/blog/2018-june/bayou-bridge-update
Misha Mitchell, firstname.lastname@example.org, (225) 692-1133
Anne Rolfes, email@example.com, (504) 452-4909