The Bayou Bridge Pipeline build is ready to start in southern Louisiana, stretching 163-miles from the Lake Charles area east to Donaldsonville, and this build will be well watched.
At issue is Energy Transfer Partners numerous contamination spills on other ETP pipelines where the construction has been shut down and cited for violations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, ETP's subsidiary, Sunoco, earned 19 violations for such things as dumping more than 2 million gallons of contaminated waste near public drinking water sources. On the Mariner 2 East pipeline build in Pennsylvania, ETP/Sunoco contaminated private water wells while performing unauthorized drilling.
KATC.com writes in an investigative report that because environmental watchdogs have focused on ETP's violations on other sites, rigorous oversight will be part of ETP's workday during the pipeline's construction.
The Army Corps of Engineers will will maintain onsite personnel when contractors begin horizontal drilling on the project, and tribal monitors will also be onsite during construction. He said the Corps will maintain coordination with Bayou Bridge about when and how they're working.
"The only time that we generally establish when work can occur in certain areas or during certain time frames is if construction may impact a federal project or be related to endangered species requirements," Corps spokesperson Ricky Boyett stated in an email. "Additionally, the permittee must comply with all restrictions during high water events. Our permits allow five years for the construction of the project. If construction cannot be completed within that time frame, the applicant would have to apply for a time extension."
Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources will monitor ETP's construction on 17 miles of fragile coastal zone including 'spot checks' to evaluate any impact on area vegetation and make sure construction is proceeding as permitted. When the construction is complete, Bayou Bridge will be required to submit 'as built plans' to DNR to review.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) is responsible for monitoring air and water quality and will monitor the project for any environmental impact, such as wetland contamination, that might extend outside the permitted project area.
ETP has chosen Sunland Construction of Eunice, Louisiana to build 55-miles of the Bayou Pipeline.
Separately, several environmental groups have filed suit to stop the pipeline, citing concerns that the Corps did not consider alternative routes or impact studies, and as such violated the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act. The groups are also questioning if the pipeline's operating capacity permit is accurate. A hearing in that case is set for Thursday at the U.S. Middle District of Louisiana courthouse in Baton Rouge.