To the delight of environmnetalists, US District Judge Shelly Dick out of Central District of Louisiana has ruled that construction of a crude oil pipeline through Atchafalaya Basin has caused irrepairable harm to the swamp area it is being built citing tree clearing that is involved in the process. Consequently, Courthouse News Service reports that environmentalists are encouraged by the decision
Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West and other groups sued the Corps of Engineers in January for issuing permits for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a 24-inch-wide, 162.5-mile-long pipeline from Lake Charles east southeast to St. James, Louisiana.
The proposed pipeline will connect with the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, to bring oil to refineries along the Mississippi River for export.
The plaintiffs, including the Gulf Restoration Network, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club, say the Corps of Engineers shredded environmental laws by declaring that the pipeline “would not have a significant impact on the environment, and did not require a full environmental impact statement.”
The judge is set to rule whether or not an injunction will be issued halting construction of section of the pipeline located in the Atchafalaya Basin. To her credit and during late January, Judge Dick refused to issue a restraining order blocking pipeline construction in its entirety.
The pipeline itself is a section of the Dakota Access Pipeline which was the subject of controversy and violent protests on the part of environmentalists and Standing Rock Indian tribe members that took place in North Dakota.
By just issuing the permits, environmentalists allege, the Army Corps of Engineers violated the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Judge Dick is expected to decide if an injunction will be issued by tomorrow.
Judge Shelly Dick is an Obama appointee so it is very likely that the lawsuit was geared to ensure she or one of Obama’s judicial appointments heard the case (i.e. judge shopping). Even though Dick may have declined to stop pipeline construction overall, blocking construction of a section of it could have devastating consequences for the project overall. In short and by default, the judge will still help the environmentalists achieve their goal if she issues the injunction.
Environmentalists claim that increased use of pipelines will encourage demand for fossil fuels which, in turn, contributes to climate change. In reality, if pipelines are not an option, transportation of oil is conducted by ship, truck, or train. These modes of transportation not only result in more carbon emissions but also the increased likelihood of accidents.
When more pollution results or accidents occur, environmentalists use press coverage pointing this out to condemn oil companies while making the case for more controls and other regulations in order to make transportation of fossil fuels more difficult. Stricter oil transportation method rules restricts not only the flow of fossil fuels but ratchets up the price in an attempt to discourage their use.
Environmentalists are not concerned about climate change or even the natural environment because what they ultimately want is political control over others and our way of life. Organizations, like Earthjustice, oppose construction of pipelines because it not only gives them more political ammunition with other transportation methods for oil but also because environmentalists are anti-progress and anti-civilization.