The Memphis City Council yesterday stepped into the path of a proposed oil pipeline through the Tennessee city, casting its opposition as a fight against “environmental racism.”

The council’s 13 members unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Byhalia Connection pipeline, a joint project of Plains All American Pipeline LP and Valero Energy Corp. Members also gave unanimous initial approval to a proposed ordinance that would require City Council approval for new oil pipelines within city limits and set strict conditions.

Several miles of the 49-mile pipeline would run through low-income, predominantly Black neighborhoods in South Memphis. Opponents say the area has already borne the burdens of too much pollution. They also say that a pipeline spill could damage the aquifer that Memphis and the surrounding region rely on for drinking water.

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