Bayou Bridge Pipeline

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The Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP) is a 162.5-mile crude oil pipeline planned from Lake Charles, Louisiana to St. James, Louisiana by Bayou Bridge, LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners. Communities directly impacted by the pipeline have asked the Army Corps of Engineers for an Environmental Impact Statement. The Corps refused to do so and approved the project on 15 December 2017.


The Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP), is a crude oil pipeline project through Louisiana´s Atchafalaya Basin and across 11 parishes. It is to connect an oil-and-gas hub in Texas with oil refineries in Louisiana. The planned 162 miles of pipeline have been estimated to cost $670 million.[1]


The Bayou Bridge pipeline is to deliver heavy and light crude oil from the Phillips 66 and Sunoco Logistics terminals in Nederland, Texas into Lake Charles, Louisiana other than by ship or rail. Greg Garland, chairman of Phillips 66 said it complemented other pipeline projects to deliver Bakken crude oil to the Gulf Coast.[2]


In August 2015, Energy Transfer Partners LP announced a joint venture with Phillips 66 (40%) and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP (30%) to construct the Bayou Bridge pipeline, in which they would have a 30% interest.[2]



The proposed 162-mile Bayou Bridge Pipeline project is located in Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, Acadia Parish, Louisiana, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, Iberville Parish, Louisiana, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, and St. James Parish, Louisiana. Two pump stations have been proposed in Jefferson Davis and St. Martin parishes. There are eight watersheds within the project: Lower Calcasieu, Mermentau, Vermilion, Bayou Teche, Atchafalaya, Lower Grand, West Central Louisiana Coastal, and East Central Louisiana Coastal.[3]

An important context of the route is the fact that marshes and wetlands have suffered long-term erosion from levees, which are keeping the Mississippi River from flooding but also from re-depositing sediments.[4]


With the 2015 joint venture, Phase I of the project began, the construction of a 30-inch pipeline from Nederland, Texas to Lake Charles, Louisiana. In April 2016, this pipeline went into service.[5]

Phase II of the pipeline entails a 24” pipe from Lake Charles to St. James, Louisiana, which is expected to be completed in the first few months of 2018.[5] Informational meetings were held in January 2017. By May 2017, pipes had already been manufactured.[6] In August 2017, St James residents opposed the pipeline.[7] and the parish council delayed its vote,[8] but 10 days later, it approved the land use for the pipeline by a margin of 4-3 so it could run through the Vacherie, Louisiana area. The vote was along racial lines, with the white majority prevailing.[9]

In December 2017, as Bayou Bridge LLC was to expropriate property, environmental activists demanded to see project records, including internal company communications, per Louisiana’s public records law.[10]

Governmental permissions[edit]

Two government permits are needed for the pipeline: one from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and one from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. As of December 2017 the latter had approved the project.


Human health[edit]

St James residents have stated that the oil industry is hurting their health and their town in what is known as cancer alley.[11]

A recent explosion of an oil platform on Lake Pontchartrain on 6 December 2017 illustrates the dangers involved.[12]

Environmental pollution[edit]

Oil spills are a realistic concern. In May 2017, Energy transfer pipelines in Ohio had a series of leaks.[13]On December 1 it was reported that a pipeline leaked oil into Louisiana marsh.[14]At a meeting of the St. Martin Parish Council the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West noted that many pipelines and their spill banks underneath the Atchafalaya Basin running east to west have changed the water flow to such a degree that it no longer flows throughout the Basin, creating "dead water" or low-oxygen swamp water. The Corps of Engineers has required pipeline companies to maintain water flow, but is not enforcing the requirement.[15]

Impact on fishing industry[edit]

Crawfishermen have been impacted by the oil industry, particularly since the 2010 BP Oil Spill.[16] This comes on the background of deteriorating health of the basin, an increase of the dead zones.[17]

Lack of trust[edit]

Residents who have been impacted by the oil industry have heard companies´ promises of protecting and restoring the coast but not to come true.[18]

As Energy Transfer´s militaristic tactics of dealing with protest at its Dakota Access pipeline have become public, including the employment of security companies for aerial surveillance, radio eavesdropping and infiltration of camps as counterterrorism measures,[19] culminating in the attempt to build a conspiracy lawsuit, it has demonstrated how it can scare protestors from further activism.[20]


In June 2017, the pastor of St. James led a lawsuit opposing the pipeline to protect the community.[21] A prayer and resistance camp was set up.[22] and indigenous leaders had joined the resistance by August.[23]

Protesters have been demanding an environmental impact statement since at least September.[24][25] On Halloween, people went to the Louisiana Capitol demanding that Governor John Bel Edwards should require an environmental impact statement for the pipeline.[26] In November, resistance was increasing and opponents of the project filed petition to intervene in a hearing of the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners regarding the application of private security firm TigerSwan, hired by Energy Transfer Partners.[27]

In December an activist bought land in the path of the proposed pipeline.[28]


  1. ^ J.R. Ball Huge Louisiana pipeline project draws opposition. Houma Today-GateHouse Media LLC Times-Picayune. Feb 20, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  2. ^ a b Bayou Bridge Pipeline to Deliver Crude to Louisiana Refinery Market 3 August 2015, retrieved 19 December 2017
  3. ^ BayouBridge USACE New Orleans district, n.d., retrieved 19 December 2017
  4. ^ James Fletcher The washing away of Cajun culture. BBC News, Leeville. 27 August 2015, retrieved 19 December 2017
  5. ^ a b Bayou Bridge Energy Transfer Partners, n.d. retrieved 19 December 2017
  6. ^ Sam Barnes Pipe for a $670 million pipeline through south Louisiana is ready to go. But its owners are awaiting the regulatory green light. BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT. May 15, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  7. ^ Meghan Holmes St. James residents oppose proposed pipeline. LOUISIANA WEEKLY-14 August 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  8. ^ David J Mitchell St. James Parish Council delays vote on oil pipeline permit. Houma Today- GateHouse Media LLC- The Advocate (Baton Rouge) Aug 10, 2017
  9. ^ David J Mitchell Oil pipeline wins approval to run through Vacherie area. Houma Today- GateHouse Media LLC. The Advocate, Aug 24, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  10. ^ Steve Hardy Louisiana environmental groups target Bayou Bridge pipeline records. Houma Today- GateHouse Media LLC, The Advocate (Baton Rouge)- Dec 7, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  11. ^ Lauren Zanolli in St James, Louisiana [‘Cancer Alley’ residents say industry is hurting town: ‘We’re collateral damage’] THE GUARDIAN- 6 June 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  12. ^ Steve Hardy Lake Pontchartrain oil platform explosion leaves 7 injured, 1 missing; resident describes seeing ‘tremendous flames’ The ADVOCATE Dec 6, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  13. ^ Sam Levin in San Francisco Firm behind Dakota Access pipeline faces intense scrutiny for series of leaks. THE GUARDIAN- 25 May 2017
  14. ^ Hole in pipeline leaks oil into Louisiana marsh. Houma Today-GateHouse Media LLC -The Associated Press, 1 Dec 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  15. ^ Danny Fenster Basin’s water flow brought up at meeting. THE DAILY IBERIAN-Sep 6, 2017
  16. ^ Jody Meche column: Crawfishermen under threat as oil, gas companies show flagrant disregard for our way of life The Advocate Oct 24, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  17. ^ Eric Zernich, Meteorologist Parts of the basin are becoming dead zones for fisherman. –Sep 12, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  18. ^ Lamar White, Jr.The Lies and Contradictions of Big Oil’s Campaign Against Protecting and Restoring Louisiana’s Coast. BAYOU BRIEF, August 18, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  19. ^ Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, Alice Speri leaked documents reveal counterterrorism tactics used at Standing Rock to “defeat Pipeline Insurgencies”. The Intercept, May 27, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  20. ^ Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, Alice Speri Dakota Access PIPELINE COMPANY paid mercenaries to build conspiracy lawsuit against environmentalists. The Intercept- November 15, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  21. ^ Julie Dermansky Pastor Leads Lawsuit Opposing Bayou Bridge Pipeline to Protect Louisiana Cancer Alley Community DESMOG- June 26, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  22. ^ Yessenia Funes Prayer and Resistance Camp Launches in Louisiana to Challenge Pipeline Connected to DAPL. Colorllines- ICYMI: Jun 26, 2017,retrieved 19 December 2017
  23. ^ Anna Wagner How Indigenous Leaders Are Building the Resistance to Louisiana’s Bayou Bridge Pipeline GREENPEACE August 17, 2017
  24. ^ Dannielle Garcia Protesters demand Environmental Impact Study for Bayou Bridge, LOGA reacts. KATC- Sep 22, 2017
  25. ^ Emily Fontenot. Opponents to pipeline bring concerns to Baton Rouge. AMERICAN PRESS-Oct 10, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  26. ^ Yessenia Funes Pipeline Protest Pumpkins Send a Halloween Message to Louisiana’s Governor. EARTHER- 10/31/17, retrieved 19 December 2017
  27. ^ Sabrina Canfuield Resistance Builds to New Louisiana Oil Pipeline. COURTHOUSE NEWS- November 1, 2017, retrieved 19 December 2017
  28. ^ Julie Dermansky With Tribal Blessing, Louisiana Activist Buys Land in Path of Proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline DESMOG- December 17, 2017

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