MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The fight against construction of the Byhalia Pipeline continues.
If cleared, the pipeline would go through portions of Southwest Memphis. However, organizations and community members have come together to stop construction and this time they’re begging city council to step up.
Activist gathered to call on Memphis City Council members to pass an ordinance that would give the city more power to protect the Memphis sand aquifer from any future pipeline projects.
Activist say they their willing to fight for their water as long as possible.
“They say the reason they brought the route, the pipeline through south memphis because it would be a point of least resistance. Well, you woke us up now,” Rev. William Barber, an activist, said.
Barber is the latest public figure to speak out against construction of the Byhalia Pipeline.
If cleared, the pipeline would run through portions of Southwest Memphis specifically Boxtown, a predominantly Black community.
Clergy members, organizations such as the Poor People’s Campaign and the Memphis Community Against the Pipeline, and community members gathered at Alonzo Weaver Park to say they refuse to let that happen.
“All the residents of Memphis are at risk if a leak or a spill occurred near the aquifers clay layers,” Barber said.
For months, activists have fought against Plains All American, the company overseeing the project, to stop the pipeline.
There’s even a lawsuit on the table to throw the permit for the project out.
After much feedback from the community, Shelby County Commissioners recently voted down a resolution that would have put two vacant lots of county-owned land up for sale, land developers were looking to buy for the project.
And now activists are urging Memphis City Council Members to pass an ordinance that would grant the city power to further protect the city’s sand aquifer and drinking water from any future pipeline projects.
“I come by to say that here in Memphis someone’s trying to rob us, and we’re not going to have it,” Barber said.
When we last spoke to Plains All American they told us in a statement their, “goal for this project is to safely and responsibly build and operate a pipeline that will be a long-term benefit to the community.”
A spokesperson went on to say they are looking at other options.
However, activists say they don’t want any of those options to include Southwest Memphis.
“Not here. Not now. Not ever on our watch,” Barber said.
Last month, the city council unanimously passed an ordinance opposing the Byhalia Connection Pipeline. This new ordinance will be up for its third and final reading Tuesday.