Byhalia Pipeline is contrary to the future we need

SACE opposes the Byhalia Connection Pipeline, a proposed pipeline that would pump crude oil from Southwest Memphis to Marshall County, Mississippi.

Brady Watson and Pearl Eva Walker | February 25, 2021 | Energy Justice, Energy Policy, Tennessee

Pearl Eva Walker also contributed to this blog post. She is a Memphis resident who works on our Memphis Has the Power campaign. 

Update: On Tuesday, March 2, the Memphis City Council delayed a vote on a resolution opposing the pipeline. There is also an ordinance being considered that would seek to protect the city’s water resources and oppose the pipeline. These items are expected to be discussed further during the Public Works Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 16. Also on Tuesday, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris voiced his opposition to the pipeline. 

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) opposes the Byhalia Connection Pipeline, a proposed pipeline that would pump crude oil from Southwest Memphis to Marshall County, Mississippi. Amidst our dire need to rapidly transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, there is no place for a project like this that seeks to prolong the era of oil-based transportation by suing families in predominantly Black, low-income neighborhoods for land rights through eminent domain–families who already bear too heavy a burden from nearby sources of pollution–despite minimal public benefit and subjecting Memphis’ drinking water supply to the threat of an oil spill. Memphis has the power to claim a future of economic, environmental, and racial equity, bolstered by renewable energy and clean, electric transportation, free of burdensome pipelines and fossil fuel pollution.

On Tuesday, February 23, the Public Works Committee of the Memphis City Council delayed a vote on a resolution stating the Council’s opposition to the Byhalia Connection Pipeline and asking the city’s utility, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) to oppose it as well. The text of the resolution can be read at this link, starting on page 70. The resolution’s sponsor, Councilman Edmund Ford, Sr., asked the vote be delayed due to recent developments that he sought input from the City Council’s attorney on. The vote was postponed to the next meeting of the Public Works Committee.

Memphis City Council will now vote on whether or not to oppose the pipeline at their meeting on Tuesday, March 2, but that will not be enough to stop it. Ongoing resistance will be needed. A robust and diverse coalition of community members in Memphis has formed to fight back against the pipeline. To learn more about the proposed project and how you can help stop it, check out the Memphis Community Against the Pipeline Facebook group and catch up on media related to the opposition of the Byhalia Pipeline. Together we can stand up to say #NoOilInOurSoil #ByeByeByhalia #MemphisHasThePower!

The Byhalia pipeline’s proposed route through Southwest Memphis. Map courtesy Southern Environmental Law Center and Protect Our Aquifer.
Brady Watson
Kansas native Brady Watson attended Kansas State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in History, and then a master’s degree in Documentary Film and History from Syracuse University.  After…
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