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Pipeline protest arrests raise questions about controversial Louisiana law

Author: Nicholas Kusnetz, inside climate news, Published on: 24 August 2018

An oil pipeline developer and local authorities in Louisiana are using a controversial new law to crack down on protests there, with at least nine people arrested this month within weeks of the law's entry into force. So far, none of the protesters has been formally charged with a crime, and their arrests are raising questions about the ambiguity of the law... Cherri Foytlin..., [an] organizer with L'eau Est la Vie, a group that formed to coordinate protests against the Bayou Bridge pipeline... said that as activists were setting up tree-sits along the pipeline construction route in July to try to prevent the developer from cutting trees, sheriff's deputies warned them that come Aug. 1, they'd be facing felony charges. Foytlin said protesters were well aware of the new law and designed their activities to avoid violating the statute once it took effect. On Aug. 9, three protesters paddled their boats on a small waterway in the basin close to where construction was underway... [and then were arrested]. Alexis Daniel, a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners, said in an email that "while we respect that there are a variety of opinions about pipeline infrastructure, we do not tolerate illegal activity on our right-of-ways, nor activities that would put our workers in danger," and that the company hires private security to protect its workers. She said that in this case, however, local or state authorities had detained the protesters, and she referred questions to them.

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