Let’s focus on the facts about the Bayou Bridge Pipeline

The Bayou Bridge Pipeline has been at the center of an ideological fight in Louisiana — one that has been missing some key facts in the midst of a heated discourse. 

Environmental activists claim construction of the pipeline will affect hundreds of acres of the swamp in the Atchafalaya Basin, leading them to block construction and vandalize equipment. But, the facts tell a different story. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline was meticulously planned and vetted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the specific aim to minimize any environmental impacts.

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The environmental review process performed by the Corps is extremely rigorous. Career professionals carefully evaluated the pipeline’s path and considered all possible ways to avoid all potential environmental impacts. They meticulously reviewed construction techniques. Final plans by the company developing the project also included detailed plans to restore any environmental disruption back to its original state. Ultimately, the Corps found that the project would result in no significant impacts to the environment or to local communities. 

Despite these facts, emotional (versus fact-based) decision making has even seeped into the justice system. Earlier this spring, a local judge ordered construction of the pipeline to stop in the Atchafalaya Basin, finding that the Corps acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in issuing approvals. Not only does the judge’s decision ignore the facts of the case and the details of the construction plan, it diminishes the regulatory process and the hard work of some of our nation’s finest civil servants who care deeply about protecting sensitive ecosystems. Fortunately, an appellate judge overturned that decision and subsequently lifted the work stoppage. 

Pipeline opponents’ sweeping statements about alleged environmental destruction are simply not true. When the pipeline plans are examined closer — and by merit, not emotion — we see the project was planned intentionally to preserve Louisiana’s wetlands. Environmental footprint minimization is a top priority for both the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and for the professionals in the Corps who work tirelessly to preserve the region’s waterways.

 

Tom Magess

Georgetown, Texas

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