A Louisiana judge recently ruled that an energy company could seize privately owned property in order to complete an oil pipeline.
A Dec. 6 posting on nola.com said Judge Keith Comeaux of the 16th District Court in St. Mary Parish ruled that though Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) had previously trespassed on the privately owned land, it was witjin its rights to seize the property from the landowners in order to complete the 162-mile-long Bayou Bridge Pipeline.
Property owners previously argued that the seizure of the property was illegal, as ETP was not a governmental institution and therefore unable to enact eminent domain.
Jane Patton of No Waste Louisiana, a conservation group, recently spoke with the Louisiana Record about the decision and what it means for the state.
"ETP's Bayou Bridge Pipeline is being roundly resisted in South Louisiana parishes along its route by local residents, activists and landowners," Patton told the Louisiana Record. "Economic development should always be in service to community needs and values, not merely those of corporate interests, and local communities should have the right to refuse construction of pipelines and petrochemical infrastructure."
Patton said the fact that ETP has been allowed to seize the land is a clear indicator that the court system is favoring the oil industry.
"By allowing ETP to seize privately or publicly owned lands for construction that is so clearly not wanted by a significant portion of the local community, the Louisiana courts system is clearly no longer serving the public interest," Patton said. "Rather, the courts are serving the interests of extractive economies that result in sickness, wetland loss and other harms to Louisiana's people and ecosystems."