MEMPHIS Byhalia oil pipeline decision delayed

MEMPHIS Byhalia oil pipeline decision delayed

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Hollywood stars and well-known politicians are the latest to oppose the controversial Byhalia oil pipeline planned for the Mid-South.

The 45-mile pipeline would run from the Valero refinery in downtown Memphis through the predominately Black southwest communities of Boxtown, Westwood, Whitehaven, and into Mississippi.

In the past week, celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Danny Glover tweeted about it. Fonda said, “Environmental racism and injustice is happening right now in Memphis.” Glover said, he stands in solidarity with the Memphis community against the pipeline. Glover and Fonda asked people to sign a petition against it.

Today, Memphis City Council committee deferred sending a resolution to the full council Tuesday that would oppose the Byhalia Connection Pipeline.

This is the second time the committee has postponed the resolution against the proposed crude oil pipeline through Southwest Memphis. Councilmembers and the council’s attorney discussed the city’s legal authority to challenge the pipeline before deferring it.

The council’s attorney, Allan Wade, said Tuesday’s resolution was non-binding, but recommended the Public Works, Solid Waste and General Services Committee hold it until he could hold an attorney-client meeting with them and Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division representatives.

In 2019, Byhalia Pipeline — a joint venture of Texas-based Plains All American Pipeline and Valero Energy Corporation — revealed its plans for the 45-mile pipeline between the Valero Memphis Refinery and a Valero facility in Marshall County, Mississippi.

Justin J. Pearson, spokesperson for MCAP, said he was initially disappointed by the committee’s decision and the council’s uncertainty of its authority.

The pipeline is routed above the Memphis Sand Aquifer and through an MLGW wellfield, which environmentalists have argued is a risk to the city’s main water source. During the resolution’s initial discussion, MLGW representatives said the company asked the utility provider for an easement.