CLAIM: Anti-Bayou Bridge Pipeline Protest Camp Is A Local, Grassroots Movement

An Oct. 16 Teen Vogue article claimed that the anti-Bayou Bridge Pipeline protest encampment known as the L’eau Est La Vie camp is “a grassroots group taking dynamic action to stop the pipeline.”

RATING: 80% False

While some of the opposition pipeline project is genuine, including concerns expressed by landowners, the protest encampment has solicited and received at least $33,000 from national activist-driven philanthropic foundations and environmental organizations.

At the heart of the protest is the L’eau Est La Vie Camp, a self-described “floating pipeline resistance camp” that has employed direct action tactics to disrupt the construction of a lawfully approved and permitted pipeline project. The camp is a project of Louisiana Rise, an advocacy group founded by Cherri Foytlin, director of Bold Louisiana and owner of the land on which the camp is located. Foytlin has emerged as leading figure in the pipeline resistance movement, often working alongside other anti-energy elites, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and founder Bill McKibben. Her connections to some of the nation’s more radical environmental groups are also evident in the funding she has been able to secure.

In 2017, Foytlin secured an $8,000 grant from Greenpeace as well as a $2,500 donation from the Rainforest Action Network to support the L’eau Est La Vie camp. More recently, a partnership of national environmental organizations and philanthropic allies known as the BEAI Fund announced its financial support for the pipeline resistance group. While the exact amount of the BEAI grant is currently unknown, the fund’s website notes awards can range anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.

Louisiana Bucket Brigade has also dedicated significant resources to opposing the pipeline and like Louisiana Rising is backed by activist philanthropic organizations. In 2018, the Bucket Brigade received a $15,000 grant from the Proteus Fund, a pass-through funding entity working to “build a sustained force for progressive change.” Since its inception in 1995, the fund has routed hundreds of millions of dollars from anonymous donors and foundations to political and social activist groups, including support for direct action initiatives similar to those taken against the Bayou Bridge pipeline. In addition, the Proteus Fund, through its fiscal sponsorship of the George Soros-linked Solidaire Network gave Louisiana Rise $7,500 in 2017, according to records reviewed by the GAIN Fact Checker.

Now that we know who is really paying the bills, it’s hard to support the idea that the anti-Bayou Bridge Pipeline is local grassroots movement and not part of a broad national effort stop the development of important energy infrastructure projects.