Judge Blocks Construction of Crude Pipeline Through Louisiana Swamp

The Sierra Club is celebrating a victory after a federal judge ordered the suspension of construction on a crude oil pipeline by Energy Transfer Partners through a swamp in Louisiana’s Cajun country.

The order against the Bayou Bridge line was issued by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick after the Sierra Club sued the Army Corps of Engineers in January, claiming the Corps had violated the Clean Water Act. The suit also said the Corps had not adequately considered the project’s oil spill risks before issuing a permit.

The 24-inch pipeline is to go through the Atchafalaya Basin which is considered to be environmentally fragile. The 162-mile line is to stretch from Lake Charles to St. James Parish. The judge’s order stops the company from “taking any further action on the project” until a trial on the merits of the case can be held.

Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman called it a “very significant victory for the people who rely on and care about the Atchafalaya Basin.” His group helped file the original lawsuit.

“For too long, the oil industry has treated this place as garbage dump,” he said. “Finally, it is getting the kind of protection that it deserves.”

A spokeswoman for the Dallas-based ETF would have no comment about the judge’s order.

“The judge did not issue any opinion explaining her order. Until such time as that is issued, and we can review, we will have no further comment,” Alexis Daniel, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, one of the companies building the pipeline, said in an email.

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