Byhalia Pipeline protest ahead of city council vote

Updated: Apr. 18, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Sunday’s protest may have happened in the Boxtown Community that continues to fight against the proposed Byhalia Pipeline, but their message was aimed at City Hall as Memphis City Council Members have another big vote this Tuesday.

After holding numerous rallies and protests for months, the Memphis Community Against The Pipeline again brought dozens of Memphians together Sunday to protest against a 49 mile proposed crude oil pipeline that would go through majority-black neighborhoods and on top parts of the Memphis sand aquifer which provides fresh drinking water to millions.

“We’re in the midst of a movement here in Memphis and we have come way too far to stop now,” said Justin J Pearson, Co-Founder Memphis Community Against the Pipeline.

One month ago Former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore visited Memphis in support of opposing the Byhalia Pipeline.

Sunday MCAP received another major endorsement from Poor People’s Campaign Co-Chair Reverend Dr. William Barber.

Reverend Dr. William Barber, Poor People’s Campaign Co-Chair

“To say not here! Not now! Not ever on our way,” said Reverend Dr. William Barber.

In March, the Shelby County Commission voted against selling several pieces of property that the pipeline would cross, several landowners are currently involved in lawsuits against All Plains American to avoid selling their property and the Memphis City Council has passed an ordinance opposing the pipeline.

Sunday’s rally was held two days before city council members are scheduled to vote on an ordinance to protect the Memphis sand aquafer and promote environmental justice.

“The city council can stop this, this week,” said Rev. Barber.

“We are the largest municipality in the country that relies on an aquafer solely for ground eater and Tuesday is an opportunity for them to make sure that anybody that wants to put something in the ground, goes through the right process to ensures that it’s safe,” said Pearson.

Leaders of MCAP say their movement is continuing to grow and while they’re confident the Byhalia Pipeline will not start construction, they say there is still a lot of fighting ahead.

“Power is building the momentum is building but we have to see that reflected in the policies and decisions of our locally elected leaders,” said Pearson. “I reached out to representatives of Plains All American for comment on this story Sunday, I did not hear hear back.

Memphis Community Against the Pipeline plans to march Monday at noon from the National Civil Rights Museum to right here at Memphis City Hall.

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