Bayou Bridge protesters attempted to break into the Louisiana Radio Network studios, site of the monthly Ask the Governor talk show, to demand an audience with Governor Edwards over his decisions regarding the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and the community of St. James’ fear that the project would strand citizens in the event of chemical accident.
The protesters are part of the No Bayou Bridge movement that opposes the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline that runs from Lake Charles to St. James Parish. Opponents say the pipeline infringes on native territory, and is a danger to water sources.
Protesters rushed the Governor on his way into the show, and surrounded the studios for the duration of the program, reiterating their call for the state to build an additional evacuation route out of St. James, because they feel the current one is compromised by the pipeline. A No Bayou Bridge Organizer at the action explained their position.
“We would like him to meet the people of Freetown in St. James that don’t have a way out when there is poison or whatever else happens with the pipeline, all they’re asking for is an evacuation route.”
Protesters clashed with the governor’s security, and eventually Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputies as they attempted to enter the studios through two separate entrances, and chanted "We want St. James to have an evacuation route!" in the lobby of Investar Tower.
Governor Edwards reiterated his support for the project, saying the state’s economy is reliant on pipelines such as Bayou Bridge, a pipeline that could lead to hundreds of jobs.
“The bottom line is this, we have refineries along the Mississippi River, and we are going to get hydrocarbons to those refineries so they stay in business so they stay in business and we can make sure individuals stay in employed.”
Edwards says when it comes to safety, pipelines are a much better option than the alternatives.
“The other ways to get the hydrocarbons to the refiners rely on trains and trucks, and I believe that those are actually less reliable in terms of having more wrecks and spills and accidents.”
Three protesters were arrested in clashes with the police.