Description: Lawsuit challenging the elimination of seasonal restrictions on "hopper dredging."
Cape Fear River Watch v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/26/2022 Order Download Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment granted. North Carolina Federal Court Said Elimination of Seasonal Dredging Restriction Was Arbitrary and Capricious. A federal district court in North Carolina found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it eliminated seasonal restrictions on “hopper dredging” in harbors at Wilmington and Morehead City. The court found that the Corps’ evaluation of certain National Environmental Policy Act factors was inadequate, including consideration of the extent to which the action would adversely affect endangered or threatened sea turtles and sturgeon and consideration of the degree to which impacts on the environment were highly uncertain. The court did not directly address the complaint’s allegations that the Corps failed to address climate change impacts such as “the compounding impacts climate change will have on species, water quality, water temperatures, or the affected project area.” The court vacated the Corps’ decision and remanded for further consideration. 08/04/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Challenged Removal of Seasonal Restrictions on “Hopper Dredging” in North Carolina Harbors. A lawsuit filed in the federal district court for the Eastern District of North Carolina alleged that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted in violation of NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act when it ended seasonal restrictions on hopper dredging at Wilmington and Morehead City Harbors in North Carolina. The complaint alleged that hopper dredges were “massive vessels that operate like a vacuum cleaner” by sucking up bottom sediment and discharging it into a “hopper” within the vessel until disposal, and that such dredging “poses a unique and often fatal risk to aquatic wildlife.” The complaint alleges that the Corps failed to adequately address or disclose impacts of eliminating the restrictions, including climate change impacts such as “the compounding impacts climate change will have on species, water quality, water temperatures, or the affected project area.”