MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A spokesperson with the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline project says they could be looking at other routes after Monday night’s Shelby County Commission vote.
“If we are not able to purchase the tax properties then we would consider all options which would include re-routes which could potentially affect other landowners,” said Katie Martin, communication manager at Plains All American.
The Shelby County Commission dealt a blow to the Byhalia Pipeline Project at its meeting Monday night. Commissioners voted down a resolution that would sell two, vacant county-owned lots in southwest Memphis, in the Boxtown neighborhood.
It’s land the Byhalia Connection Pipeline would run through, which is also land with a majority African-American population.
“Commissioners, I am pleading with you, as a person who has loved ones and representing a community of thousands of people here to not sell our land. It does not have benefit for anyone but an out-of-state multi-billion-dollar pipeline company,” said Justin Pearson, of Memphis Community Against the Pipeline.
Commissioners talked about the overwhelming number of letters and phone calls they’ve received on the issue. Many in the community have expressed concerns over the potential threat to the Memphis Sand Aquifer and the city’s drinking water.
Last month, Congressman Steve Cohen asked the Biden administration to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind its permit for the project. The communications manager with Plains All American, which is overseeing the pipeline said if commissioners don’t agree to sell the land, they will look at other options.
We asked the company on Tuesday about their next steps, and they said the following in a statement.
Our goal for this project is to safely and responsibly build and operate a pipeline that will be a long-term benefit to the community. We believe that selectively picking and choosing when and to whom to sell publicly owned property sets a dangerous precedent for Shelby County residents and businesses.
The company said they will keep us posted when they have information to share. The Memphis City Council is also looking at an ordinance regarding pipelines coming to Memphis.