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Protesters demand Environmental Impact Study for Bayou Bridge, L - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Protesters demand Environmental Impact Study for Bayou Bridge, LOGA reacts

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BATON ROUGE, La. -

The debate over the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline continues.

Protesters stood in front of the Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge on Thursday, demanding an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) be done on the proposed pipeline and are hoping to get the governor's attention to oppose the project.

In Louisiana, the 162-mile pipeline would link refineries to hubs in Texas.

The project would cut through the Atchafalaya Basin. It's part of a larger interstate, multi-million dollar pipeline that connects to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, which was met with protests over the past year. And today, more protestors, but this time in Baton Rouge.

"We don't want this company in our bayous and our basin. And we want to respect the people who live here, respect the land and the water," said Cherri Foytlin, an environmental activist from Rayne.

Bayou Bridge is proposed to cross more than 700 Acadiana waterways and 600 acres of wetlands.

"They'll knock us over I don't know how many times, but we'll just keep standing up," said Foytlin, preaching to the small crowd of protesters.

The group originally planned to protest a planned appeal hearing for the private security company affiliated with Energy Transfer Partners, called TigerSwan, which was denied a license to operate in Louisiana. That hearing was postponed without date, but the group still used the opportunity to voice concerns about the spill record of Energy Transfer Partners.

Just yesterday, Ohio regulators said they want to lodge a $2.3 million fine against the company for its Rover pipeline, where 2 million gallons of drilling sludge leaked into protected wetlands during the natural-gas line’s construction.

Bayou Bridge would cross beneath the Atchafalaya Basin.

"The Atchafalaya is the largest swamp in North America. It's a national treasure, if they want to talk about our legacy, our legacy is the Atchafalaya Basin. We must protect it at all costs," said Foytlin, holding a "Stop Bayou Bridge" sign.

And it would end in the community of St. James, supplying its nearly a dozen refineries and petrochemical plants. People living in that area say another pipeline is the last thing their neighborhoods need.

"My fight is how long does it take to make it into soil? How many times can you filter water before its actually drinkable? Everybody buys bottle water and we shouldn't have to buy bottled water we should be able to garden," said Eve Butler, who lives in St. James.

Federal law requires an EIS, if the project would have a “cumulative or significant impact on the human environment," according to the EPA.

Only seven have been completed for pipelines since 1987, although dozens have been built in the state. Bayou Bridge is proposed along existing pipelines, which the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) said is the reason they don't have to create one.

"There's federal laws that regulate when an environment impact statement is necessary and when they're not. You know, the majority of this project goes where existing pipeline and infrastructure are already in place which might be why it's not required for this particular project," said Gifford Briggs, the VP of LOGA.

They maintain that pipelines are the safest way to transport natural gases, versus by train or truck.

"Fifty percent of the fuel that powers this country flows through Louisiana," said Briggs.

The protestors, delivered letters to the governor's office, urging him to oppose the project. However, Edwards says he supports the pipeline.

"It's going to have to meet all the requirements in law and in regulation and we will enforce all of the permit requirements as well. That has not always been done in the past and I think that's why so many people are concerned with the construction of this pipeline," Edwards said on "The Jim Engster Show" on Wednesday.

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