Training courses teach water protectors - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Training helps water protectors become diplomats for their cause

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Hundreds of Louisianans known as water protectors are joining together in an effort to monitor the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.

The group kicked off the first round of their "Louisiana Water Protector Training" sessions this week, and Saturday they hosted a session at the Lafayette Public Library. 

Across the roughly 160 mile span of the Louisiana portion of the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, hundreds of South Louisiana water protectors are monitoring the pipeline's construction. 

They're concerned its completion will negatively impact the waterways and wetlands.

"We're just regular people. We're citizens here who love the land, who love Louisiana, and we want to leave a better legacy for our children," explained water protector, Rae-Lynn Cazelot.

The water protectors say science shows the pipeline will negatively impact the integrity of the Atchalafaya Basin. 

The basin acts as a natural buffer-zone, and if further damaged by the pipeline's construction, it will increase coastal erosion and cause more extreme flooding. 

Water protector and tribeswoman of the United Houma Nation, Rae-Lynn Cazelot says the aim of the training is to educate & empower.

They're facilitated by legal experts and seasoned environmental activists in order to educate and empower water protectors on how to properly monitor the construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline with diplomatic skill & grace.

The training at the Lafayette Public Library was on the ins-and-outs of following correct protocols for reporting claims against the pipeline.

The experts are also teaching the water protectors their rights as citizens, and to be non-violent but strong enough to promote their message. 

"If you show up being all mousy, they're not gonna listen to you. But, if you show up with a strong voice, not with any anger, but with a strong voice of confidence and persuasion, and love in your heart; then that's when your messages really echo out in the public eye," explained Cazelot.  

The water protectors say the membership of their movement is growing, and they plan to hold more training sessions as more people get involved. 

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