Tennessee U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Wants Byhalia Connection Pipeline Through Memphis Put on Hold


U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) wants the nationwide permit for the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline rescinded, and this week he took the matter up with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Cohen told the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that the pipeline endangers his constituents in Memphis.

Byhalia, according to its website, is a crude oil pipeline that is supposed to run nearly 49 miles from Memphis to Marshall County, Mississippi. The pipeline, the website went on to say, will connect the Diamond Pipeline with the Capline Pipeline. The Diamond Pipeline provides the Valero Memphis Refinery with crude oil to produce gasoline and jet fuels. The Capline Pipeline, meanwhile, runs between Central Illinois and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“The Byhalia Pipeline goes through low-income African-American communities that have been burdened with a lot of industrial pollutants for years. One of the representatives of the pipeline company called this the point of least resistance,” Cohen told Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime A. Pinkham.

“Many, many people in the city of Memphis are up in arms about it, feeling this is wrong to put another potentially hazardous facility and project — which could leak into our aquifer through this community and jeopardize the drinking water — from the wellfield that goes through this community.”

Pinkham said at the hearing that he did not take Cohen’s concerns lightly and he was still evaluating the project.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has spoken out against the pipeline. Members of the Virginia-based Southern Environmental Law Center have done the same.

The team promoting the Byhalia Pipeline said on their website that safety matters most.

“We work to involve a wide variety of community leaders and experts in this project and its safety — from environmentalists and scientists to city and county officials. We meet or exceed local, regional and federal safety standards as we construct and operate our pipelines. We train employees and work with local emergency response crews, to react to potential incidents quickly and safely,” according to the Byhalia Pipeline website’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

“Before construction begins, the Byhalia Connection Pipeline team considers multiple factors, such as potential protected species, prominent environmental features like wetlands and waterways, as well as schools, recreational facilities and historic and cultural sites. We collaborate with engineers and environmental scientists, community leaders and regulators to weigh these different factors and select the best route before a single piece of pipe is placed in the ground.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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7 Thoughts to “Tennessee U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Wants Byhalia Connection Pipeline Through Memphis Put on Hold”

  1. Karen Bracken

    There he goes again. Commie Cohen using poor blacks to push his communist agenda. That pipeline poses no danger and he knows it. Maybe he is afraid it might create some jobs for those poor people and they won’t be so dependent on the government and Cohen will lose his base.

  2. Tim Price

    At this point, Cohen has become Tennessee’s greatest liberal hack!

  3. Ms Independent

    Walking thru Memphis is far more dangerous than this pipeline. Cohen is such a drama queen.

  4. LM

    An oil pipeline is buried 6 feet – at the deepest. The Memphis aquaphor is hundreds of feet deep – 800 feet in many areas – between thick layers of sand and clay. You are full of sh*t Cohen. You want to tell the people in your “point of least resistance” stupid stuff so you can control them with fear. Typical liberal strategy.

  5. jamesb

    If they have the easements needed to proceed build the damn thing and tell cohen and all the do gooders to got o hell. if they really cared about those neighborhoods they would have been improved years ago. the benefit to all of this project is what matters,

    in the meantime cohen go down to the nearest kfc and order a 40 piece bucket of nashville hot chicken

  6. SadButTrue

    of course he does. because he is the worst person in Tennessee.

  7. Bill

    Endangers his constituents in Memphis? How? Your city is near the top of the list in violent crime in this country. Will the work slow down their progress of murder, theft, rape, or drugs? Is this the the endangerment you’re referring to? Will the picture of people working in public endanger the psyche of those living on welfare? If I were you, I’d step down from whatever “role” you think you have and let someone who cares about the contituents of Memphis fix the real problems at hand. You’re a proven failure and the mere butt of a joke.