MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Byhalia Pipeline Project is starting to gather national attention, and the Memphis City Council was set to vote on the controversial project on Tuesday afternoon.
But with so much at stake, there’s no such thing as too much information. This is a very passionate subject both here in Memphis and nationally. Memphis City Council delayed their vote, while protesters rallied through Downtown Memphis.
A large group of Memphians gathered outside the National Civil Rights Museum and marched to city hall, as the city council was preparing to make a decision on the Byhalia Pipeline.
The group is frustrated with what they believe to be an unjust, money-driven situation.
“We ask that you will stir something up in our elected officials and remind them that we are their employers!” a protester said.
The pipeline would cut through miles of Northwest Mississippi and Southwest Memphis. Protesters are concerned the pipeline would uproot historically Black neighborhoods and affect water and air quality.
“Low wealth, impoverished neighborhoods still deserve clean water, clean air and adequate health care,” Keshaun Pearson, of the Memphis Community Against the Pipeline, said.
We reached out to Plains All-American Pipeline, the Texas-based company in charge of the Byhalia Project. They did not make anyone available for an interview, but did tell WREG ensuring the safety of Mid-South residents was a top priority.
They say 62 of the 67 lots needed for the project are vacant and the pipeline would only sit 3-4 feet in the ground. They also claim after surveying more than 800 residents, 49 percent are in favor of the pipeline.
But the Memphis City Council said it needs more information. Specifically, they will investigate the city’s legal authority to challenge the pipeline at all.
That means more patience and protesting from residents who feel unheard.
“They never knew that Memphis would rise up against a billion dollar oil company and say no oil in the soil” Justin Pearson, Memphis Community Against the Pipeline, said.
Memphis City Council is meeting next Tuesday, March 2nd.