12xx16 Bayou Bridge Pipeline

SHREVEPORT (AP) — A newly formed Shreveport environmental activist group is making plans to travel to Baton Rouge to protest an incoming pipeline that many worry would hurt the environment.

North Louisiana for Climate Justice was created on Friday at a Whole Foods market in Shreveport. The first mission of the group — about a dozen members strong — is to tackle the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline project at a public hearing scheduled Jan. 12 in Baton Rouge.

A member of the group, Ron Hagar, tells The Times the purpose of the trip is to gather information and make connections with allies.

The $670 million pipeline project would carry an estimated 280,000 barrels of oil through 11 southern Louisiana parishes. It's backed by Energy Transfer Partners, Inc., the same company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

The proposed pipeline is expected to bring in at least 1,500 temporary construction jobs to surrounding regions. But Cassie McDaniel, a Keithville resident whose son worked in the oil and gas industry, said she was willing to "go to battle" over the cause and that the focus of the issue needs to be re-framed.

"It's not enough to bring a job in. How long are those jobs going to stay here?" she said.

The proposed project would cross 11 parishes, 162 streams and eight watersheds, according to the company's permit application. The pipeline would connect oil from the far-away North Dakota to refineries and ports in Louisiana.

The specific construction of the pipeline includes clearing right of way, conducting trenching operations, installing various above and below ground pipelines and using horizontal directional drilling operations. These activities would create an estimate 1,500 jobs, according to the company.

While some worry about environmental impacts, the company said in its permit application that the pipeline will improve public and environmental safety and increase America's energy independence. It also said the project was designed "to avoid adverse impacts."

Bayou Bridge Pipeline L.L.C. contracted an environmental study by Perennial Environmental Services about the potential impact of the pipeline on cultural resources, the environment and people's livelihoods. That report shows the pipeline will run through the habitats of at least 21 federally and state-listed threatened or endangered species — including the bald eagle, pallid sturgeon and Louisiana black bear. But the company says the construction will have "no effect" or is "not likely to adversely affect" any of those species.

Construction of the pipeline also will result in the permanent loss of 159 acres of wetlands, with an additional 454 acres of wetlands temporarily impacted, according to the report.

Darryl Malek-Wiley, from the Sierra Club, said those conditions are unacceptable and that pipeline leaks are inevitable.

"Their permits say one thing, but they cause permanent damage to the environment," Malek-Wiley said. "We have hundreds of pipelines that leak, and it's almost impossible to clean."

According to the permit application, the pipeline conforms to safety standards mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline Safety Regulations.