CLAIM: Cherri Foytlin, a member of the anti-pipeline encampment known as the L’eau Est La Vie Camp, called fellow activist and head of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Dean Wilson a white supremacist.
RATING: 50% True, Foytlin did associate Wilson with white supremacy in a Jan. 16 Facebook post, but did not provide any evidence to support her accusation.
Tensions between two groups opposing the Bayou Bridge Pipeline boiled over Wednesday when L’eau Est La Vie Camp member Cherri Foytlin unloaded on Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Executive Director Dean Wilson. In a strongly-worded Facebook post, Foytlin called Wilson a white supremacist and accused him of being disloyal to the anti-pipeline movement.
“I’ve been quiet up til now, about Mr Wilson and his white supremacy and patriarchal ways, but since there seems to be no end to the crap he wants to talk about me and my crew to the media, the cops, and so on… he can righteously go fuq himself,” Foytlin wrote. “Tell him that, and tell those white-women-led organizations that support him with their applause or silence that as well.”
Wilson, according to Foytlin, blamed the L’eau Est La Vie Camp for passage of new legislation establishing stricter penalties for unauthorized entry of or damage to critical infrastructure facilities, including pipeline rights-of-way. “Could someone please tell Dean Wilson, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, that we and I are NOT the reason that pipeline infrastructure easement law was enacted,” wrote Foytlin.
While the origin and validity of these accusations remain unknown, it is no secret that Foytlin and other members of the L’eau Est La Vie Camp have routinely employed direct action tactics to disrupt construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The Baton Rouge Advocate reported last August that in one month at least 13 individuals affiliated with the camp had been arrested for attempting to physically block construction, including chaining themselves to excavators and sitting in trees.
Foytlin went on to allege Wilson supported local law enforcement in the efforts to reign in the camp’s unlawful activities. “You might remind [Wilson] too…that that maybe if he hadn’t been down at St Martin Parish Sheriffs Office congratulating them for doing such a great job choking native/POC women out in the dirt on land HE KNEW they had been invited to be on, that might have been different too,” wrote Foytlin.
Prior to Foytlin’s post, the relationship between the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and L’eau Est La Vie Camp appeared cordial, with both sharing a common goal of stopping the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. That said, the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper has steered clear of the more radial actions embraced the L’eau Est La Vie Camp, choosing instead to try and stop the project at the judicial level.
Speaking with Colorlines Magazine earlier this month, Wilson acknowledged the outsize presence of the oil and natural gas industry in Louisiana and suggested that a subset of the Basinkeeper’s membership likely supports the pipeline project.
“The oil industry is part of life here,” Wilson said. “If we begin by directly opposing the pipeline, we will lose potential allies. I am out here trying to win the hearts and minds of all residents of the Basin, regardless of their politics.”