Cherri Foytlin outside the sheriff’s office where she was held Thursday.
Photo: Karen Savage (L’eau Est La Vie Camp)

On Thursday, officers arrested several Bayou Bridge Pipeline protestors who stood in the path of construction trucks in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, attempting to stop the construction of the 163-mile crude oil pipeline. Among the arrested was Cherri Foytlin, indigenous environmental activist and co-founder of the L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) Camp which has been fighting the energy project since at least 2017.

Sue Prevost, one of the people arrested Thursday.
Photo: Anne Rolfes (Louisiana Bucket Brigade)

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Foytlin says she was standing near the water protectors and recording a live stream when she was arrested, along with three other water protectors, two of whom are women over 50 and teachers. (Only one of the women was ultimately detained.)

“We will continue to make a point: that the oil industry has got a fight on its hands,” Anne Rolfes, executive director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade who witnessed all this, told Earther.

Allies quickly took to social media to let the arrest be known.

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The sheriff’s office has already released both Foytlin and Sue Prevost, the other arrestee, with some citations. Neither is letting this shake them up.

“I had no intention of being arrested today,” Foytlin told Earther. “We all know that’s a possibility when we’re trying to stop the pipeline, but I feel like I was targeted in some ways. We’ve all been feeling that a lot down here with that new bill they’re trying to get through.”

Cherri Foytlin being arrested Thursday.
Photo: Courtesy of L’eau Est La Vie Camp

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She’s talking about House Bill 727. Louisiana House of Representatives introduced it last week, and it’d criminalize people who “conspire” to trespass into private property. As The Intercept breaks down, this could include folks who didn’t actually break the law but folks who sorta’ helped plan out any actions that might involve trespassing or damaging infrastructure.

Courts paused partial construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, led by Energy Transfer Partners (yes, the same company that built the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline and would actually connect that pipeline to this one if Bayou Bridge is completed), in February, but the break was short-lived. An appeals court ordered construction to continue in March. So water protectors, who worry that the pipeline would pollute waterways and ruin the crawfishing industry, have been back on their direct actions. That means more blockades and, in turn, arrests.

This was a first for Prevost, who’s been arrested before but never placed in a holding cell. She’s ready for the next time.

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“The fact that this [oil] is coming from North Dakota, the fact that this is a continuation of DAPL, the fact that we as a country are allowing this to sneak through our most fragile lands and poison our most vulnerable communities is outrageous to me,” she told Earther. “I want to take action for the whole country, not just for my little space.”