Bayou Bridge opponents say state is spying on them - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Bayou Bridge opponents say state is spying on them

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Opponents of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline claim the state is spying on them. 

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade submitted public records requests to confirm their suspicions and say they can prove the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is targeting them.

"The Governor's Office of Homeland Security was having conversations with the oil companies and with federal agencies in order to spy upon people who live in Louisiana who are trying to stop Energy Transfer's messy project, Bayou Bridge Pipeline," said Cherri Foytlin, who founded the L'eau est La Vie, or "water is life," camp to resist the pipeline.

GOHSEP doesn't deny keeping tabs on the group. They say that's standard protocol.

"GOHSEP routinely shares information involving any events within the state that may require the use of additional local state or federal resources.  This activity can include events such as holiday celebrations, parades, large sporting events, and protest.  This information flow helps everyone maintain situational awareness in order to provide any security, traffic, law enforcement, or any other assets possibly needed for the event," GOHSEP Communications Director Mike Steele said in a statement.

The documents shared with us show that a GOHSEP agent sent publicly available information on the resistance camp, including a photograph published by a newspaper, to the heads of the DEQ, DNR, Louisiana State Police and Louisiana National Guard. 

Energy Transfer Partners is the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, which spurred global media attention for its militarized treatment of protesters in Standing Rock, North Dakota, in 2016.

"The governor of the state of Louisiana, instead of standing behind and listening to his constituents, are speaking with and obtaining information from an outside entity in order to criminalize people within the state who are simply trying to protect the water," Foytlin said.

It's unclear the extent of the intelligence done on the protesters. One email provides detail about how the protesters are recruited and trained.

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