December 6, 2017, Baton Rouge, LA — Today, a broad base of Louisiana advocacy groups opposed to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, represented by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), invoked public records laws to force Bayou Bridge LLC to make its records, including internal communications, available to the public. The groups’ public records request to the company states that, since Bayou Bridge LLC is claiming state authority to expropriate property, the company is subject to public records laws.
The groups include Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Bold Louisiana, and Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. These groups and 350 Louisiana also filed a series of public records requests to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Natural Resources for the release of their communications with companies involved in the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, including Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Phillips 66, among others.
The requests for information dovetails with the groups’ ongoing call for an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed pipeline. Together, the efforts aim to ensure that Louisianans can transparently evaluate the companies’ operations and protect the interests of people and the environment.
“The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is a bad project for Louisiana that will enrich a few people at the expense of our clean water, our Atchafalaya, and people’s health,” said Anne Rolfes, Director of Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “The company is seizing people’s land against their will. The people of Louisiana deserve to know the whole truth about this shady process, and these records will provide clarity.”
The requesters are a loose-knit coalition that has been organizing for months in opposition to the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which is being pursued by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. ETP’s proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline would run 162 miles across Louisiana, through 700 bodies of water. The groups point out that ETP and Sunoco (owned by ETP) have become notorious for frequent oil spills around the country, and argue that the pipeline poses severe health and environmental risks.
“Louisianans have a right to know about the relationships between their state agencies and private pipeline companies and determine whose interests are being protected in matters that can profoundly impact their wellbeing and livelihood,” said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pamela Spees, who grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, one of the communities that would be affected by the pipeline.
The groups’ requests come a month after they separately petitioned the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners to let them participate in a hearing regarding the licensure of the private security firm TigerSwan LLC, also connected to Energy Transfer Partners, which is seeking a license presumably to support ETP in its attempt to develop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is an environmental health and justice organization using grassroots action to create an informed, healthy society that hastens the transition from fossil fuels.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.