An appellate court in Louisiana has permitted the construction of a pipeline through the state’s wetlands to proceed. The lawsuit began in 2017 and claimed that the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources improperly granted a permit for the “Bayou Bridge Pipeline” project, claiming the project would affect protected wetlands and lacked a proper emergency evacuation route. The district court agreed with the plaintiffs, and halted work on the project until the appellate court issued a decision.
The appellate court deemed that the permit granted by the DNR had been sufficiently vetted. The judges determined that the DNR systematically considered all the necessary information regarding how the pipeline would be used and the impact of such usage, alongside any adverse impact the public might experience from the construction of the pipeline. The court also stated that it was the job of the local government, not the pipeline company, to ensure a plan for evacuating the area is in place and that the proposed pipeline project did not alter any evacuation routes currently in existence.
The pipeline will span over 10 miles, carrying nearly 500,000 gallons of oil daily over 11 parishes and 700 bodies of water in the state. It is owned by the same company that owns the Dakota Access Pipeline. With this ruling, construction can continue. It has not been reported whether the plaintiffs in this case will seek a further appeal.
While it is important to preserve our state’s natural areas, those who obtain the proper permits to legally complete construction projects should be allowed to complete their work. Construction law attorneys can help explain what permits project owners need to obtain to complete their projects in a lawful manner.