The Gulf of Mexico has long been on the frontlines of the impacts of the oil and gas industry and destructive pipelines play a central role in that story.
Hundreds of thousands of miles of leaking pipelines already crisscross the region. Recent advances in unconventional oil like fracking have led to record amounts of oil extraction in the United States. This combined with a new rush to export oil and natural gas is leading to an explosion in new pipeline proposals.
Pipelines destroy wetlands, pollute our water, threaten our fishing and outdoor recreation industries, and put communities at risk of explosions and pollution. New pipelines are the largest single category of wetlands damage in the Gulf, causing the loss of thousands of acres of wetland forest every year.
Right now, two of the largest proposed pipelines in the region are “Bayou Bridge” and “Sabal Trail.”
The Bayou Bridge oil pipeline, which is backed by the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, would snake across 11 Louisiana parishes, destroying wetlands and threatening drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. Hundreds of people showed up to hearings in early 2017 to protest the project and thousands more have filed comments against Bayou Bridge. As we wait to hear from the state of Louisiana and the Army Corps of Engineers about key permits for Bayou Bridge, GRN is working with our partners and impacted communities to push for a full study of the environmental impacts and the denial of its permits.
The Sabal Trail Pipeline is a proposed 515-mile fracked natural gas pipeline through Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Over 940 acres of wetlands will be impacted by the pipeline project. Hundreds of miles of the proposed pipeline route will cross sensitive limestone or “karst” geology that is prone to sinkholes - risking pipeline rupture and explosion as well as contamination of the sensitive Floridan Aquifer. Although Sabal trail has already received its key permits, GRN and our partners are in litigation over the project and there is a growing groundswell of grassroots opposition.
Gulf Restoration Network will continue to fight these and other destructive pipelines by analyzing and commenting on wetland destruction and water pollution permits, watchdogging existing oil and gas infrastructure, organizing against the pipelines that would cause the most harm, and taking legal action when necessary to protect our communities and environment.