Description: Challenge to Section 404 permit for new petrochemical plant on the Mississippi River in Louisiana.
Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/15/2020 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Plaintiffs Alleged Inadequate Consideration of Climate Change in Challenge to Permit for Petrochemical Plant. Four environmental organizations filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ issue of a Section 404 permit under the Clean Water Act for a new petrochemical plant on the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The plaintiffs asserted that the Corps violated the National Environmental Policy Act by relying on “deeply flawed and inadequate” environmental assessment to conclude that the project would not have a significant environmental effect. They alleged that the project—which would produce plastic chemicals and resins—would, among other impacts, emit 13.6 million tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions, “the equivalent annual emissions of three coal-fired power plants.” The complaint further alleged that this figure “does not account for emissions from the power transmitted to the facility or for emissions from the entire lifecycle of plastics production.” The plaintiffs contended that the project’s greenhouse gas emissions would “contribute to the climate crisis and exacerbate Louisiana’s susceptibility to flooding, land loss, and storm surges” and that the destruction of wetlands for the project “would remove some of the natural buffers against these impacts.” The plaintiffs also asserted that the Corps violated the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act by overlooking “major consequences” of the facility in finding the project to be in the public interest and by failing to adopt the least environmentally damaging alternative. The complaint also asserted claims under the National Historic Preservation Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.