Editor’s Note: A guest post by Howard Veeder, a safety training consultant based in Baton Rouge.
I’ve worked on a wide variety of endeavors in Louisiana involving safety and training. Over the years, the oil and gas industry has made incredible strides in both the safety and regulatory oversight under which energy projects are developed. One prominent example of this progress is the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.
Bayou Bridge will incorporate the latest in construction techniques and safety technologies, ensuring that the project is one of the safest pipelines in operation today. The project will be buried at least three feet underground, with added depth as well as additional pipe thickness under farms, wetlands, and other sensitive areas. Additionally, Bayou Bridge will run parallel to existing pipelines and other rights-of-way for over 80% of the route, resulting in minimal new excavation. Further, Bayou Bridge has also committed to restoring all lands affected to pre-construction elevations and contours.
Once installed, the pipeline will be tested with a variety of technologies before it carries any oil. And during operation, Bayou Bridge will be monitored around the clock by a dedicated team of operations professionals. Ultimately, underground pipelines like Bayou Bridge are the safest, most efficient means of transporting crude oil to end markets.
Project officials are dedicated to preserving agricultural lands and environmental resources like the Atchafalaya Basin. Underscoring this commitment, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources recently granted the project its coastal use permit. I’m confident Bayou Bridge will go above and beyond what is required by federal, state, and local regulations for safety and ensure this project is built right.
Aside from being a safe project, Bayou Bridge will also be a huge economic boon to our state. As many as 2,500 constructions positions will be created for hardworking men and women and Louisiana vendors like Stupp Corp. will be contracted who will provide steel manufactured right here in Louisiana for the project. In addition to jobs, Bayou Bridge will help ease the tax burden on Louisianians by pumping in nearly $2 million in property taxes during the first year of operation and $17 million in sales taxes.
As a Louisianian, I can also say without hesitation that this project will be beneficial to our local economy and tax base. It’s critical that we support refineries throughout the Gulf Coast with the means to succeed – and that means the safe, efficient transportation of crude oil to market hubs. Let’s be honest, one of the major criticisms of pipelines is that an aging pipeline infrastructure is unsafe. Projects like the Bayou Bridge Pipeline are answering the call for a modern, safe, pipeline infrastructure. For these reasons, I look forward to an expedient approval of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.