This Day in History

July 2, 2021: Opposition Prevents Byhalia Pipeline Construction

Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Organizing

Due to overwhelming opposition from activists and community members, construction of the Byhalia Connection oil pipeline in greater Memphis, Tennessee was canceled by its developers, Plains All American Pipeline, on July 2, 2021.

Protest of the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline.

Protest of the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline. Justin J. Pearson is holding the megaphone. Photo by Brad Vest.

As is reported by Leanna First-Arai in Truthout,

The victory by grassroots groups in Memphis opposing the Byhalia Pipeline on the grounds of environmental racism comes weeks after developers canceled the Keystone XL oil pipeline, while the Biden administration continues to support the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.

According to the Giniw Collective, an Indigenous women and two-spirit-led anti-pipeline group on the frontlines of Line 3 resistance, nearly 600 people have been arrested for civil disobedience in the fight against Line 3. Arrestees include seven Water Protectors who peacefully faced off against law enforcement to stop Enbridge from drawing water from the Shell River on July 19.

Continue reading Activists Have Shut Down a Memphis-Area Pipeline — But Their Fight Isn’t Over at Truthout.

Additional Resources

From Memphis to North Mississippi, Ida B. Wells’ Words Hit Mark on Byhalia Pipeline by Carrington J. Tatum in the Mississippi Free Press.

How Memphis Beat the Odds to Stop a Pipeline, a Broken Ground podcast.

Memphis, Tennessee: The Sweetest Water in the World, an episode of The Sum of Us podcast by Heather McGhee describes how a multi-racial coalition successfully resisted the pipeline. There is also a young readers’ edition of her book, The Sum of Us.