Jan. 16, 2017 04:42 PM

Arguing that oil companies “have done irreparable damage to our homeland, our wetlands, our coast and the Atchafalaya Basin,” Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West released a policy statement Monday on the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which would run 163 miles between Calcasieu and St. James parishes and traverse a portion of the Atchafalaya Basin:

Oil companies have done irreparable damage to our homeland, our wetlands, our coast and the Atchafalaya Basin in flagrant violation of state and federal environmental laws. These companies can very clearly afford to do things by the book, yet, because of lack enforcement of our environmental laws we are paying the bitter consequences, and so will many generations to come.

We ask the state of Louisiana and Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation to support the Corp of Engineers’ enforcement and permitting obligations, and to provide the resources needed for them to do their job. The Corps do not have a single person to review permits for compliance and regulatory, nor do they have a boat for monitoring- For God sake, give them a boat!

Louisiana should not be asking for billions of dollars to repair the damages done by the oil industry to our coast until the industry can be properly regulated. It is this lack of regulation which has created the situation we have today.

Real and valuable jobs are those which we have lost, and will continue to lose, as a consequence of greed-generated illegal activities in wetlands, coupled with a lack of enforcement of our environmental laws.

Before granting any permits which will use an existing right-of-way (corridor), we ask the Corps of Engineers to:
1. Conduct a thorough analysis of all existing violations already on the proposed right-of-way.
2. Conduct an EIS to determine the effects that those violations, such as illegal dams and spoil banks, are having into the wetlands, including to navigation on waters of the U.S., fisheries, the ecology and aesthetics of the wetlands.
3. Conduct a study on the economic consequences that these violations are having on the fisheries, ecotourism and any other industry affected by them.
4. Put the right-of-way out of commission until it is brought back into compliance. Make violators accountable by mandating that they correct the problems which they created.
Before granting a permit to Bayou Bridge to build a new pipeline in the Atchafalaya Basin we want the Corps of Engineers to:
1. Review all existing pipeline permits by Energy Transfers and/or any of their subsidiaries.
[We know that Energy Transfer also owns Florida Gas, responsible for building the Florida pipeline across the Atchafalaya Basin, one of the most damaging pipelines ever built.]
2. Identify all lack of compliance issues related to those permits.
3. Make Energy Transfer bring those right-of-ways back into compliance, and fix all damages done to wetlands as a consequence of any and all violations.

LDEQ should base any decisions regarding this permit on facts and data resulting from all Corps investigations and their EIS.