Battling the Black Snake

Stop the Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge Pipelines

From the north a black snake will come. It will kill our lands, slowly killing all that it touches, and in its passing, the water will become poison.

So says a Lakota prophecy. Today it inches towards fulfillment.

Our brothers and sisters to the north remain strong in their stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Dakota Access would move fracked oil over 1,172 miles, downstream from North Dakota’s Bakken region to southern Illinois. A black snake indeed.

Yet the snake won’t station there. From Illinois, the fracked oil may be shipped east via train. Or it could be sent further south in another pipeline, some 700 miles to Texas. Transport to Louisiana refineries would then be possible thanks to a third pipeline, the so-called Bayou Bridge.

These three pipelines all happen to be assets of the same company, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). ETP owns Sunoco, and it’s partnered with Enbridge, Phillips 66, and Marathon Petroleum Corporation for this massive buildout. Project costs amount to $4,800,000,000, while supporting loans and backings from an array of banks have totaled $10,250,000,000!

How much coastal land could we build with that? How many schools? Hospitals? Comment with your project concerns here.

Back in May, Bayou Bridge applied for a Coastal Use Permit from Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources. We submitted written comments opposing the project’s potential destruction of 600+ wetland acres. Indirect and cumulative impacts are still unassessed, disaster-response plans have not been formulated, and we question the pipe’s very necessity.

Now, the Army Corps of Engineers is soliciting public comments on Bayou Bridge. [update - read our comment here]

Bayou Bridge claims its pipeline will provide a “long-term, safe, reliable and energy-efficient option to move crude oil to enhance America’s energy independence.” Here again, we see a phony notion of ‘energy independence.’ Malarkey, even. The US is in fact a net exporter of refined oil products, to the highest bidders. We also import from the cheapest crude sellers, to further maximize profits. This proposal has nothing to do with ‘us’ consuming the energy ‘we’ produce.

Only after the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, will we find that money cannot be eaten.

That’s a Cree conclusion.


Three fracked-oil pipelines, to potentially snake across our country, as seen from an ETP presentation to investors
ETP's network is already expansive, though even more profits may be ahead
Bayou Bridge would run nearly parallel to the state-designated Coastal Zone (missing is the Texas-to-Lake Charles piece that's already under construction)

Lead image used with permission from Marty Two Bulls Sr. Visit to support and learn more about the artist's work.

James Hartwell is GRN's Coastal Wetland Analyst.

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