Opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline accused Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards of meeting with a representative of the oil and gas industry while refusing to meet with activists and communities affected by the pipeline’s construction. They further allege that the administration has instead placed them under surveillance, pointing to similar treatment of Dakota Access pipeline opponents in North Dakota in 2016. Their claims are based in part on emails and other public records released by the state.
The activists brought their grievances to the Democratic governor’s home and office on March 1, holding a press conference in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge and then occupying the foyer to his office in the State Capitol for over an hour.
“The Bayou Bridge pipeline should be called the John Bel pipeline,” Louisiana Bucket Brigade founder and director Anne Rolfes declared at the press conference. In her view, “any accidents that will happen” related to the pipeline lead back to the Governor. He had the power to stop it, she said, but chose not to.
At the press conference, representatives from the HELP Association, 350 New Orleans, L’eau est La Vie (Water Is Life) camp, and the Center for Constitutional Rights also expressed disappointment in what they described as the state government’s cozy relationship with industry.
Louisiana Bucket Brigade read aloud emails about the Bayou Bridge pipeline from the Edwards administration and industry that were obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a New York-based legal and educational nonprofit.