About a dozen protesters gathered at Energy Transfer Partners’ office building in Dallas this week, the second anniversary of when police used non-lethal weapons against Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in the Dakotas.
This time, the focus was on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which is being built in Louisiana by Energy Transfer Partners.
“We stand in solidarity with water protectors and with folks that were brutalized by rubber bullets, water cannons and pepper spray at Standing Rock two years ago,” said Danny Garner, one of the organizers of the protest. “Our goal is to divest from fossil fuel usage, and the only time to switch is now because we’re running out of time.”
The protesters arrived at the building just as Energy Transfer Partners employees were getting off work. As they protested, Garner said one employee yelled back to the group, “Pipelines are awesome!”
Katie Krupala, another organizer and a student at the University of North Texas, said there were several police cars and building security monitoring the protest.
The group later moved near Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren’s house in Preston Hollow.
Energy Transfer Partners is headquartered in Dallas and is the parent company of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is an extension of the pipeline’s pre-existing infrastructure, according to their website.
The pipeline delivers crude oil from where it begins in Nederland. A project to expand the pipeline from Lake Charles in Louisiana to St. James is underway and would be built across the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest wetland region in the country.
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The pipeline has received backlash from communities in Louisiana, environmental activists and indigenous groups who say it threatens drinking water, public safety, the wetlands and the people who depend on the environment for their livelihoods.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal advocacy nonprofit, filed a lawsuit against Energy Transfer Partners, claiming that the company never received permission to start construction on the pipeline. The trial is set to begin Tuesday in St. Martinville, Louisiana.
“Standing Rock was a big deal, and it's not over,” Garner said. “The folks fighting in Louisiana are the same people who were there, we’re tackling the same issue here and they need our help.”
Energy Transfer Partners, which is headquartered in Dallas, did not respond to a request for comment.