Right now, southeast Louisiana is the most endangered landscape in North America, losing a football field every 45 minutes. A third of the state is in danger of washing away. Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners want to make that statistic worse. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline would form the tail end of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline — the one being opposed by thousands at Standing Rock. Spanning 162 miles, connecting Texas to St James, the pipeline passes through 11 parishes and crosses 700 bodies of water. Louisiana already has approximately 125,000 miles of pipelines moving through the state. Even so, Bayou Bridge is predicted to directly affect more than 600 acres of wetlands, and tens of thousands indirectly. The pipeline would only serve private interests, moving oil that can already be transported to two different ports through existing lines. Any benefits to local economy would be temporary, but the impacts to our wetlands would not be. This all coincides with the recent release of the updated Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, a $92 billion plan the state created with to mitigate the erosion that pipelines and canals played a large part in creating. The state has yet to secure full funding for the plan. I am the owner of Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours, a business I started four years ago with Marie Gould. Our tours take people into the region’s beautiful, dying cypress tupelo forests. We provide access to the national treasure in our backyards because we have learned the best way to instill an appreciation of our landscape is by taking people out for a firsthand experience in our wetlands. We believe in spreading awareness of our land loss and an appreciation of the implications this will have for the environment, the population in this area, and the economy of the country. We do this because wetlands provide crucial flood protection. The proposed project is expected to reduce the buffering wetlands throughout Acadia, Lafayette and St Martin Parishes — all of which experienced destructive flooding in 2016. We do this because the large number of refineries and oil and gas activity has given the region the name Cancer Alley. We do this because Louisiana is currently suffering the highest rate of sea level rise in the world. Together, the Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge operation would add emissions equivalent to 30 new coal plants. And we do this because Louisiana’s cypress and tupelo forests, meandering bayous and sprawling wetlands make up a third of our state. And this is the only region we want to call home.
co-owner, Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours