Monday morning, an Energy Transfer Partners security team sank two boats carrying approximately 15 water protectors and members of the media at a Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction site.
A press release from the L’eau Est La Vie Camp of water protectors about the incident stated that the security boat “passed by at an aggressive speed” and “intentionally” caused a large wake that “swamped and eventually sunk the boats” carrying media and water protectors.
While people could have easily drowned in the incident, they luckily managed to swim to shore, where they were assisted by a local fisherman.
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The water protectors and media members who were with them, including a documentary film crew, were legally observing the Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction site (which is being challenged in court), where ETP was preparing to horizontally drill underneath a waterway.
ETP hired the mercenary company TigerSwan to attack water protectors at Standing Rock. ETP’s henchmen there used water cannons, mace, attack dogs, rubber bullets and concussion grenades, and held water protectors in dog kennel cages.
ETP’s actions in the Atchafalaya River Basin, as well as inaction by state officials in Louisiana, continue to be criticized by water protectors and their supporters, who cite illegal operations, and harsh and sometimes life-threatening actions being taken by ETP to protect its commercial interests.
Truthout previously reported how water protectors at the Bayou Bridge Pipeline site have been charged with felonies.
The pipeline is seen by most locals as illegal because ETP, using the method of expropriation, a legal tactic very similar to eminent domain, has claimed the pipeline is in the “public’s interest.” Eminent domain is when a government (or its agent) can expropriate private property for public use, usually (but not always) with a payment of compensation.
The 163-mile-long Bayou Bridge Pipeline crosses southern Louisiana, from Lake Charles, near the Texas border, all the way east to St. James, on the banks of the Mississippi River.
The Bayou Bridge pipeline is the end of a vast pipeline network carrying crude oil that will transport Bakken oil from North Dakota to the Gulf Coast, most likely for export.
Truthout previously reported on ETP’s Trans-Pecos pipeline, which is being used to transport natural gas from fracking into Mexico, where it is transported to the coast, then on to Asia, where it fetches a higher price.
ETP, like the rest of the fossil fuel industry and the politicians who represent them, advertises that oil and gas exploitation in the US is for domestic use.