During the June 20, 2018 edition of his monthly live radio call-in show, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated his belief that, “a modern pipeline that is built according to current standards, where all the permit requirements are met, all the regulations and statutory requirements are met, are in our best interest, so for those reasons, and because all of those requirements have been met with respect to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, then they are receiving their permits and they are moving forward.”
However, the facts do not support this claim. In May, Louisiana district court judge Alvin Turner Jr. ruled that a key permit for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline was issued illegally by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR). Despite the judge’s order, LDNR refused to enforce the law and stop construction. In fact, construction of the pipeline actually intensified in the community of St. James, location of the pipeline terminus. LDNR is ultimately overseen by Governor John Bel Edwards – meaning that he is responsible for this injustice.
Judge Turner’s decision acknowledges the unjust environmental burden already plaguing residents in St. James, and requires LDNR and Bayou Bridge to evaluate the impact of a potential spill on the community. His judgment affirms what members of the 5th District of St. James know far too well – there is already a crisis of public safety and public health in vulnerable communities like St. James, and the agencies charged with protecting us and our environment have been failing in their duties to protect the public good for a long time.
St. James residents have been demanding for over a year that Gov. Edwards come to the 5th District of St. James to meet with them and learn more about the impacts of petrochemical infrastructure on their quality of life, and also about their ongoing need for a comprehensive evacuation plan and route. On his last live radio show, Gov. Edwards claimed that he has “met with the St. James officials often — Parish President, Sheriff, the assessor, the school board members.” However, despite their repeated invitations, he has not met personally with residents of the 5th District or Councilperson Clyde Cooper.
Take action: Call Governor Edwards and demand that he meet personally with members of the H.E.L.P. Association and 5th District Councilperson Clyde Cooper in Freetown, St. James.
When you are connected, please give them your name and zip code. Then follow your own version of this general script:
“I listened to the Governor’s last monthly call-in show and heard that many residents are concerned about an evacuation route and plan for St. James. Will the Governor respond to residents’ long-standing demand and meet personally with members of the H.E.L.P. Association and 5th District Councilperson Clyde Cooper in Freetown, St. James?”