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Environmental concerns halt oil pipeline in Louisiana

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2018 | Construction Law

Environmental concerns and construction projects are often intertwined these days — and legal issues often erupt when a project puts the natural environment around it at risk. Contractors who fail to appreciate the sincerity and resources of those people who are willing to take a project to court over potential environmental damage do so at their own peril.

That’s what a company charged with putting an oil pipeline through a Louisiana bayou has learned the hard way. Right now, the construction company is winning the battle but that could rapidly change. The federal judge overseeing the case at this stage issued an injunction that temporarily halted work on the pipeline back in February. By March, another judge ordered the work to resume and the company was quickly back on schedule.

However, groups like the Sierra Club have gathered forces, claiming that the permit issued to complete the project is a violation of the Clean Water Act. They say that there will be tremendous harm to the environment in the bayou from the pipeline that could destroy the area’s wetlands.

Indeed, the companies in charge of the project have a terrible track record when it comes to the environment. Together, they’re responsible for at least 527 pipeline problems, including chronic pollution of the water, invalid permits, spills and work halted due to court orders over the last 15 years. They average a hazardous event or spill at least once per 11-day period and have polluted the environment with around 3.6 million gallons of toxins during that time.

Hasty construction is blamed for a swath of damage from Michigan all the way down through Ohio and into West Virginia already because of the pipeline. At least one federal agency stated that the companies were unreliable when it came to complying with environmental regulations.

If you hope to avoid expensive legal issues in your own construction projects, it’s important to retain contractors who will take environmental concerns seriously. Look for a company with a track record of compliance.

In addition, consider a company’s general practices and find one that is committed to using renewable resources whenever possible. You should always plan ahead by checking into the regulations and codes wherever you intend to build — before you break ground and sink expensive work into the job.

Source:, “Appeals court to hear Bayou Bridge Pipeline lawsuit,” The Associated Press, May 01, 2018