Energy News Today

Memphis community celebrates anniversary of oil pipeline cancellation

Despite the Memphis sun heating Alonzo Weaver Park to about 96 degrees Saturday afternoon, about 50 South Memphis community members and local leaders gathered to celebrate the anniversary of a win that helped keep a crude oil pipeline out of Boxtown. 

A year after Plains All American Pipeline and Valero Energy Corp. abandoned the controversial Byhalia Connection Pipeline, Memphis residents joined with barbecue, songs and snow cones to remember how their persistence fought away the project.

“These victories don’t happen often,” said Justin J. Pearson, president of Memphis Community Against Pollution, formerly known as Memphis Community Against the Pipeline.

“It’s important we take a moment to celebrate the victory that we, as a community, galvanized and accomplished. Today we’re celebrating while also recognizing the reality — that environmental justice and environmental racism continued to plague Memphis, and continued to plague a lot of places that have Black, Indigenous communities of color and poor folks around the country.”

Memphis Community Against Pollution led the anniversary celebration with local leaders and community members speaking including Boxtown property owners Scottie Fitzgerald and Clyde Robinson, Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Amanda Garcia and Protect Our Aquifer Executive Director Sarah Houston.

Boxtown property owner Clyde Robinson sings during a celebration for the one-year anniversary of the cancellation of the Byhalia Pipeline on Saturday, July 2, 2022, at Alonzo Weaver Park. The event featuring free food and speeches celebrated the fight that stopped the crude oil pipeline from being built through Boxtown.

Local political faces also stood in the park for the anniversary including Shelby County District Attorney candidate Steve Mulroy and District 86 State Rep. Barbara Cooper.

Children’s laughs could be heard at the park as those who fought against the pipeline reunited and mingled. Pearson walked around embracing all those who attended and reminded everyone that the fight is not over.

“We’re not quitting in our fight,” he said. “We won one big battle and we still have a lot and a long way to go still. We want to make sure that we use the power that we have built to continue to push for change that has to happen in Memphis and this community.”

Read More: Memphis community celebrates anniversary of oil pipeline cancellation

2022-07-02 21:01:22

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