Yes, this is a post about the Bayou Bridge pipeline, and it’s the third one in 24 hours here on the site – Loren Scott, the famous LSU economist, had a guest post about it here yesterday and so did Gifford Briggs in his regular column.
All this activity comes because in a little less than two weeks, on Feb. 8, there will be a big meeting in Napoleonville for public comment about the pipeline, and the Usual Suspects are marshaling their resources in an effort to stage the kind of opposition they’ve been putting on display up in North Dakota, where the Dakota Access Pipeline is being built by the same company proposing Bayou Bridge.
This project involves a $750 million capital investment and it’s going to involve 2,500 construction jobs in 11 parishes from Calcasieu to St. James. Above is a map of where it’ll go.
The pipeline is ultimately supposed to go from Nederland, Texas to St. James, terminating on the west side of the Mississippi River. The leg of that journey from Nederland to Lake Charles is already in service. What’s coming, assuming it isn’t stopped, is the 163 miles of it east of Lake Charles. When it’s complete, Bayou Bridge will be a conduit for oil from Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alberta, Wyoming and other places to the north and west to make it to oil refineries and petrochemical plants along the Mississippi. It won’t create a lot of permanent jobs in and of itself – the estimate is a dozen people to monitor the pipeline – but by supplying huge amounts of oil to those refineries on the river it will support and create hundreds, at least, of manufacturing jobs in the most populous part of the state.
But the 2,500 construction jobs along that 163 mile route are like manna from heaven in places where the downturn in the oil and gas business have gutted the local economy. Here are the unemployment rates for November 2016, the latest data we could find, along the proposed pipeline route:
- Calcasieu: 4.5%
- Jefferson Davis: 5.5%
- Acadia: 6.6%
- Vermilion: 6.7%
- Lafayette: 5.5%
- Iberia: 8.2%
- St. Martin: 6.8%
- Iberville: 5.8%
- Ascension: 4.5%
- Assumption: 7.4%
- St. James: 6.4%
Louisiana’s unemployment rate for November was 6.2 percent, which is significantly above the 4.9 percent nationwide. These are the places pushing the state’s rate as high as it is, because all the oil workers there can’t find work.
To say this project is badly needed is an understatement.
And yet it’s “controversial.” Why is it controversial? We bring to you Anne Rolfes, the moonbat former art gallery owner who now runs the Louisiana Bucket Brigade…
My family’s home in Lafayette never flooded. We lived in it for over 40 years, and though the Vermilion River swelled nearby during heavy rains, I never felt threatened. But times have changed, and after the August floods of 2016 the new owners splashed Facebook with pictures from our flooded living room. If we continue to build pipelines like the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, we risk more floods.
The most obvious connection between the Bayou Bridge Pipeline and flooding is that the proposed route is through 600 acres of wetlands. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina painfully taught us the value of wetland protection. We should be building up our wetlands, not building on them.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration further explained the connection between our use of oil and flooding. In a study after the flood, the agency concluded that the warming in our atmosphere made the floods 40 percent more likely. Burning fossil fuels, like oil, warms the atmosphere. When the air is warm, it holds more moisture which causes more rain. That’s what happened in August.
The Bayou Bridge Pipeline propels us down a road that no one wants to be on: toward more warming, more destruction of our wetlands, more flooding and more pollution. The National Response Center, the federal point of contact for oil spills, received reports of 144 pipeline accidents in Louisiana in 2016. That’s almost three every week. And those are just the ones that were reported.
Rolfes actually brought up the report of one of these pipeline accidents, in which – are you ready for this? – 8.5 whole gallons of oil spilled.
Like Gifford noted in his column yesterday, you either transport oil via a pipeline or you do it on trains, barges or trucks. When a train wrecks with oil in tanker cars, there is a big spill. When a truck carrying oil wrecks, there is a big spill. When a barge carrying oil wrecks, there is a gigantic spill. When there’s a pipeline accident, the spill is typically very small.
Why? Because pipelines have sensors all along the way to detect leaks, and when leaks are detected the pipeline gets shut down. Then the leak gets fixed.
This happens because you LOSE MONEY when oil you’re trying to deliver to the market in your pipeline gets spilled. Therefore when there is a spill you spend money to make sure it’s the smallest amount of oil possible. And you fix the leak as quickly as you can so as to keep the flow going.
As you can see from crazy Anne’s screaming, these fairly obvious truths don’t register with her. Why? Because she wants no oil at all. What she wants is “renewables” to replace fossil fuels, and by objecting to all the oil pipelines she thinks she can bring that about.
Understand how basic the stupidity and recklessness of this is. They believe by wrecking the energy economy, they’ll bring about a change to renewable energy. As in, because Keystone XL and Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge get blocked somehow the country will move toward wind and solar energy.
Or maybe riding around in a nice carriage powered by horses. Or unicorns.
So they’re going to try to keep people from having jobs building this thing because they want more windmills, which by the way kill birds in alarming numbers. They’re not trying to raise money to support research to somehow come up with technological advances which would make wind and solar energy suck less; no, to do that would involve actual hard work and productivity. Instead they want to stand, goofy signs in hand, in the way of progress within the productive sector and publish Luddite screeds in the Lafayette Independent.
Anne Rolfes is a moron, but she’s a well-funded moron. The Bucket Brigade is hooked up to the leftist foundation spigot and brings in grant money to the tune of a quarter-million to a half-million dollars a year, and sometimes more, and for a small organization like this which engages only in a small number of protests a year it can pay its folks fairly well for doing virtually nothing. And the media attention these clowns get is almost universally fawning – which is too bad, because their activities don’t hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny.
Let’s remember what these guys actually do. They pass out five-gallon buckets to poor people who live near petrochemical plants for the purposes of gathering the air, and then they test it to “prove” the air quality is bad. That gives them legitimacy to protest an oil pipeline, apparently.
The good news is it’s highly unlikely nobody will pay Rolfes and her gaggle of loons any attention. Everybody knows we need this pipeline, and everybody knows it’s idiotic to allege that Bayou Bridge will cause houses to flood in Lafayette. But it’s irritating, particularly in the wake of last fall’s election where unhinged leftism such as that promoted by the Bucket Brigade was trounced in Louisiana by massive numbers, to see it persist.
All she’s trying to do is get attention and promote herself. There’s nothing illegal in that. But the First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to a friendly audience, and this foolish woman certainly doesn’t deserve one. Hopefully those folks in Napoleonville will give her the bum’s rush on the eighth of next month.