Byhalia Pipeline opponents hope lawsuit will force company to seek new permit

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Byhalia Pipeline opponents hope a new 51-page lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center will force Plains All-American to re-apply for a permit that would require community feedback.

Leaders from the Memphis Community Against the Pipeline group say the current permit is outdated, saying  it was approved back in 2017, before the pipeline was even in consideration. Their goal is to rescind the permit that would allow for the pipeline to be built.

“Basically what we’re asking for is fairness. And a just process,” said KeShaun Pearson. 

READ THE LAWSUIT

The current pipeline permit is a Nationwide Permit 12. MCAP says community input for that type of permit was collected back in 2016 before they were approved in 2017.

They believe a more specific permit that requires community involvement is appropriate, given concerns about pipeline safety.

“They didn’t understand the environmental ramifications. For us in Memphis, where a million of us get our drinking water from the sand aquifer, that was never considered,” said Justin Pearson with MCAP.

The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court’s  Western Tennessee Division. There’s not a set court date yet.

“Soon is our preference, obviously,” Justin Pearson said. So that we won’t see any construction done, we won’t be seeing any activity from this pipeline company.”

In the meantime, they hope the community will remain engaged and passionate. MCAP’s next planned event is a rally on April 18.

“As long as we continue to push, promote, inform and advocate for justice, that won’t ever phase out,” KeShaun Pearson said.

We’ve reached out to Plains All American to get their reaction. The company said it does not comment on pending litigation. Find more information about the Byhalia Connection Pipeline here.

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