Trees and brush grow along the side of an existing-pipeline canal, the same corridor that would be used for the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, Thursday, January 26, 2017, in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK

Investment in Louisiana's energy infrastructure network creates a powerful economic engine that generates positive impacts for residents throughout the state — including its minority communities. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline represents one such opportunity, which would provide several benefits during both the project's construction and operation.

Louisiana's energy industry — from midstream infrastructure to Gulf Coast refineries — has played a crucial role in the state's economy for decades, employing our residents and producing hydrocarbon-based good son which consumers across the country rely.

To continue that success, added crude oil capacity is needed to support Louisiana's refineries. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline can provide that access, transporting up to 480,000 barrels per day of crude oil from lake Charles to St. James - most importantly, as a state-of-the-art pipeline it will do so safely and efficiently, with minimal impacts to local communities.

Construction of the pipeline will create as many as 2,500 construction jobs that can be filled by Louisiana residents. These good-paying jobs go a long way toward supporting our community members and their families.

Additionally, Bayou Bridge is estimated to generate $1.8 million in property taxes during the first year of operation, along with $17.6 million in estimated sales tax during construction. Schools, emergency response organizations, and roads and bridges can greatly benefit from these funds — particularly in minority communities. For these reasons, I look forward to a timely approval of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.

Courtney Reynolds

president, Greater SWLA Black Chamber of Commerce