A section of Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction has been put on hold. Energy Transfer Partners agreed to cease construction on private property in St. Martinville after the land’s owner alleged the company was building there illegally. Louisiana Bucket Brigade Director Anne Rolfes says ETP did not get eminent domain for the land.

Louisiana Bucket Bridge Director Anne Rolfes says ETP did not get eminent domain for the land.

“The pipeline company has been seizing land from private land owners, against their will, the whole time. The difference here is that they didn’t even bother to take the legal steps to seize the land, they just started building the pipeline.”

Rolfes says pipeline workers have cleared trees and dug up land over the last 60 days since entering the 32 acre property.

St. Martinville has been the site of increased tensions between environmental activists and local Sherriff’s deputies and ETP security personnel. Clashes between the two groups on the private land has led to arrests and felony charges for several activists, But Rolfes says those activists were invited by the property owner…

“Bayou Bridge on the other hand did not have permission, so that’s the irony here, that the water protectors were the ones arrested when it was the company that should have been put in handcuffs.”

The environmental protesters were charged under a law passed last spring that made it a felony to trespass on critical infrastructure such as pipelines.

The pipeline is currently more than 85 percent complete and was on track to finish construction by October, at which point it would begin sending crude oil from Lake Charles to St. James Parish. Rolfes says the decision will, at a minimum, delay the project by nearly three months until the two groups get a hearing.

“There’s no way they can meet that deadline now because there is not another hearing until November 27th. They are absolutely knocked off their construction schedule.”

Entergy Transfer Partners responded saying “This does not have any impact to our construction schedule or timing of our project completion.” The company will seek to have the expropriation of the tract completed.