Water Protectors Disrupt Energy Giant Shareholder Meeting

Dallas: Water Protectors disrupt shareholder meeting for energy company ETP, Energy Transfer Partners. The protestors are contending ETP is putting profits over people’s safety and the safety of the planet. Controversy has erupted around the 162-mile oil pipeline called the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana, the same energy giant behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Inside the meeting, Waniya Locke from Standing Rock, Cherri Foytlin from south Louisiana, and Ellen Sue Gerhart disrupted the meeting, calling out unitholders and executives for their complicity in ETP’s destructive practices. Cherri and Waniya were both arrested.  

Outside, a network of communities and organizations working together to protect water, air, land, and people from Energy Transfer Partners gathered with signs and chanted, “People over pipelines,” “Water is life,” and “Caution: All pipelines leak.” One banner accused ETP CEO Kelcy Warren of being a corporate criminal. Warren once said pipeline protestors should be “removed from the gene pool.” Some of those gathered against the energy giant were able to get inside the Hotel where the meeting was being held and set off a sprinkler system.

A press release about the shutdown action at the ETP shareholder meeting  was put out by StopETP. These are comments from several of the Water Protectors who participated in the action:

“Unitholders are culpable for the damage and destruction perpetrated by ETP,” said Ellen Sue Gerhart, whose land was seized by ETP for the construction of the still-incomplete Mariner East 2 Natural Gas Liquids pipeline in south-central Pennsylvania. “ETP routinely and blatantly ignores local zoning ordinances, permit requirements, and privacy laws. Any agency who grants permits, any judge who grants eminent domain, any individual or institution that provides financial backing to this company is responsible for ETP’s water contamination, destruction of wetlands, and violations of human rights.”

“They’ve shackled grandmothers, used attack dogs on people, lied, stole, bribed, maimed, and poisoned, all over the lands,” said Cherri Foytlin of the L’eau Est La Vie camp in south Louisiana. “From my perspective, Kelsey Warren and ETP have well-earned every bit of bad karma that the universe can muster. So then to the universe I say, ‘I am your humble servant to that righteous cause. Use me up.’”

“I am Athabaskan Dené, Húŋkpapha Lakota, Bdewákhaŋthuŋwaŋ Dakota, and Anishnabesaid,” said Waniya Locke of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “I saw first hand the devastating impact that the Alaskan pipeline had on my Dené side with the Valdez oil spill and the cancer that affected the bodies of my loved ones in Alaska. Then at Standing Rock, my Húŋkpapha relatives and I saw first hand the violence of ETP as they forced their pipeline on us. This is the continued genocide of Indigenous Peoples – destroying our homelands, destroying our way of life.”

“All people, unitholders, and the citizens of Dallas NEED to know that Energy Transfer Partners only cares about greed,” said Yolanda Bluehorse of Society Native Nations in Dallas. “People need to know that ETP not only has the worst spill record among pipeline companies, but they violate human rights, harm people and families, break environmental laws consistently. Texans need to know what this company is really doing in and outside of our state. It is time that we stand up to protect this planet and us, because time is running out.”


Photo: “Oil Spill Face” by Julie Gibbons is licensed under CC BY 2.0