A public meeting will be held tonight in Assumption Parish on the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which will need a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

The 163-mile oil pipeline would run from Lake Charles through the Atchafalaya Basin to St. James Parish. Anne Rolfes with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade says the Atchafalaya Basin is already suffering from too many pipelines.

“We’re actually taking the offensive to say not only do we not want you to put in the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, we want you to get back in that basin and clean up your decades of mess,” Rolfes said.

Energy Transfer Partners is one of the companies involved in the pipeline. Rolfes says they’ve had 35 pipeline accidents in two years, and there’s nothing safe about that.

“When we went and looked at Energy Transfer Partners’ accidents over the last few years, we found out that they have a record of polluting drinking water sources along the east coast,” Rolfes said.

Supporters of the project say it will create jobs and that moving oil through a pipeline is safer than other transportation means like trains and trucks. Energy Transfer Partners Executive Vice President Joey Mahmoud says if there’s ever been a project that is by Louisiana and for Louisiana, it’s this pipeline.

“The steel was manufactured right here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The employees that are going to operate this pipeline are from and in Louisiana. The contractors that are going to build this project are mostly going to be from Louisiana,” Mahmoud said.

Mahmoud adds that pipeline construction is much more environmentally conscious than in previous years, as they take steps to ensure water flow is not interrupted by the pipe. He says Energy Transfer Partners is not as accident prone as the Bucket Brigade makes it seem because the environmental group is mischaracterizing the data.

“They’ve looked at the data, and they’ve cherry-picked the facts they want to represent. So they’re overstating what some of the spill frequency and spill data really represents,” Mahmoud said.

The meeting will be held tonight at 6 p.m. in the Assumption Parish Public Library in Napoleonville.


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