Description: Challenge to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval of the Calumet Harbor Dredged Material Disposal Facility, which would enable continued disposal of dredged materials from Chicago Area Waterway System.
Alliance of the Southeast v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/13/2023 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit in Illinois Federal Court Challenged Dredged Material Disposal Facility on Lake Michigan. Two groups representing southeast Chicago communities filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois challenging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval of the Calumet Harbor Dredged Material Disposal Facility (DMDF), which would enable continued disposal of dredged materials from the Chicago Area Waterway System atop the existing 45-acree Confined Disposal Facility (CDF). The plaintiffs alleged that the CDF is located on submerged Lake Michigan lakebed, which the State of Illinois holds in public trust. The complaint alleged that the Corps had used the CDF for disposal of dredged material for almost 40 years, despite a statutory requirement that it be converted into a public park after no more than 10 years of use as a disposal facility. The plaintiffs assert that approval of the Calumet Harbor DMDF violated NEPA, the Clean Water Act, and statutory requirements for establishing dredged material disposal facilities, as well as the Illinois Public Act and the Illinois public trust doctrine. The NEPA claims involve allegations that the Corps assumed “no additional cost resulting from higher water levels and more intensive storms driven by climate change and other factors along the Lake Michigan lakeshore” and that the EIS “did not fully and fairly evaluate and take the required hard look at the impacts of climate change” with regard to the project.