FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2017
Indigenous and environmental justice leaders launch L’eau Est La Vie protest camp on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline route
This morning, indigenous leaders and environmental justice communities launched a floating camp in the swamps of Southern Louisiana. Comprised of indigenous structures and art pieces built atop large rafts, the camp aims to elevate opposition to Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Organizers have named the camp L’eau Est La Vie, meaning Water Is Life in the indigenous-colonial Houma French language. The camp aims to build off of the indigenous-led movement against ETP’s Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota, as the Bayou Bridge project is technically the last leg of the ETP Bakken Pipeline system to bring fracked oil from North Dakota to the Gulf for storage, refinement, and export.
If built, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline would transport 480,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Lake Charles to St. James, Louisiana. The project has stirred significant controversy over concerns including wetland erosion, disruption of the crawfishing industry in the Atchafalaya Basin, seizure of private land through eminent domain, and the threat of spills into Bayou LaFourche, which currently supplies over 300,000 Louisianans and the United Houma Nation with clean drinking water.
Organizers of the camp released the following statements:
“It’s as much about Energy Transfer Partners as anything,” said Cherri Foytlin, State Director of Bold Louisiana. “This is the corporation that hired armed mercenaries to attack people at Standing Rock. They have spilled three times on the Dakota Access route and even had a diesel/drilling mud spill on their Rover pipeline, which is currently under construction in Ohio. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shut them down after that one. That’s the thing, this company has the worst history of all pipeline companies. They are a threat to our wetlands, our cultures, and to our lives. This is why we are standing together in prayer and solidarity. There is no way Energy Transfer Partners should be entrusted with our land and waters – not now, not ever.”
“Louisiana has sacrificed enough, we don’t need another risk of oil in our waters,” said Monique Verdin of the United Houma Nation Tribal Council. It’s one thing if you can’t fish. It’s another thing if you can’t drink water. Over 300,000 people depend on the Bayou Lafourche for their drinking water in the heart of Houma territory. We don’t need another pipeline. We need clean water.”
“It is absurd that communities like St. James have to demand for no further toxic impacts on their drinking water,” said Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network. “It is absurd that Indigenous peoples, like the Houma Nation, have to further see their homelands sacrificed for benefit of the oil & gas industry. And it is absurd that we have Energy Transfer Partners, a company with one of the worst safety track records in the industry, forcing its Bayou Bridge pipeline through the sensitive waters of Louisiana. From the homelands of the Three Affiliated Tribes in the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota to the Gulf Coast, this project is too much risk for too many communities and needs to be stopped.”
“We are grateful to be a part of the movement to stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline,”said Pastor Harry Joseph of Mount Triumph Baptist Church in St. James. “Bayou Bridge will affect our area in St. James in a way where we don’t need to be affected no more. We fear that oil spills will affect our water and our land. We hope our government will look at the situation and think about people and not about the money. Money is good but there are better ways of getting it than destroying people.”