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 Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) wants the nationwide permit for the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline rescinded, and this week he took the matter up with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.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