Description: Lawsuit asserting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to conduct an adequate environmental review for activities intended to maintain a nine-foot deep navigation channel in the Middle Mississippi River Reach of the Mississippi River.
National Wildlife Federation v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/13/2020 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Environmental Groups Said Corps of Engineers Failed to Consider Climate Change Impacts of Work in Middle Mississippi River. In a lawsuit filed in federal district court in the Southern District of Illinois, environmental groups asserted that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was violating the National Environmental Policy Act by conducting activities intended to maintain a nine-foot deep navigation channel in the 195-mile Middle Mississippi River Reach of the Mississippi River without completing an adequate environmental review. Among other shortcomings, the complaint alleged that the final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) issued in 2017 failed to evaluate the impacts of climate change in conjunction with the Corps’ activities on the Middle Mississippi River’s side channels despite “overwhelming science confirming that climate change is having an extremely significant impact on the Middle Mississippi River and its vital side channels.” The complaint also alleged that the SEIS failed to evaluate impacts to birds and waterfowl, including by failing to account for the cumulative effects of climate change. The plaintiffs contended that the SEIS should have assessed whether the activities conducted by the Corps would make the Middle Mississippi River and species that rely on it less resilient to climate change. They also said the review should have addressed the implications of the Middle Mississippi’s susceptibility to increased extreme weather due to climate change. In addition, the complaint asserted claims under the Water Resources Development Act, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and the 1927 Rivers and Harbors Act.