Thursday, November 9, 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, filed a petition to intervene in the December 14th hearing before the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners regarding the private security firm TigerSwan LLC. The groups — including Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Bold Louisiana, 350 New Orleans, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West, and L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) Camp — held a press conference this morning at the Governor’s Mansion. TigerSwan is connected to Energy Transfer Partners, one of the owners in the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and has applied to operate in Louisiana — but the advocacy groups say their dangerous conduct across the country makes them unfit to operate in the state of Louisiana. The license has been denied by the board and has been appealed by TigerSwan.
“TigerSwan’s well-documented use of militarized surveillance tactics against ordinary people opposing pipelines across the country is cause for alarm,” said Anne Rolfes, Director of Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “As concerned citizens from across Louisiana, we must be permitted to voice our opposition to TigerSwan infiltrating our communities at the upcoming hearing.”
The petitioners are a coalition that has been organizing for months in opposition to the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which is run by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). ETP’s proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline would run 162 miles across Louisiana.
ETP contracts with private security companies to manage public opposition to its pipeline operations, TigerSwan key among them. TigerSwan is now seeking a license from the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners (LSBPSE) presumably to support ETP in its attempt to develop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.
According to various media sources, personal accounts, and leaked internal documents, TigerSwan has engaged in military-style, counter-insurgency operations, using public relations campaigns to disseminate pro-pipeline messaging, deploying infiltrators into communities to gather intelligence. After being retained by ETP in North Dakota, TigerSwan was denied a license to operate there by the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board. Later the board sued TigerSwan for operating without a license in the state.
The groups’ petition to intervene before the Louisiana State Board comes after they sent a letter in July outlining their concern that TigerSwan’s conduct would threaten the safety, health, and welfare of Louisianans.
“TigerSwan’s militarized response to pipeline opponents across the country would hinder the right of ordinary Louisianans to exercise their rights to expression, association, and assembly under the U.S. and Louisiana constitutions,” 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 board did the right thing in denying them a license. Now that TigerSwan is appealing, these groups have a right to be heard on the matter.”
For more information, visit CCR’s case page.
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.