Description: Challenge to NEPA review for a channel deepening project in the Jacksonville Harbor.
St. Johns Riverkeeper v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/26/2020 Order Download Defendants' motions for summary judgment granted and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment granted. The court found that the plaintiff did not establish that the Corps failed to satisfy NEPA requirements. The court rejected the argument that the cumulative impacts analysis was insufficient due to failure to analyze the present effects of past dredging activities, including salinity impacts on wetlands and increased storage. With respect to salinity impacts and wetlands, the court noted that the Corps had modeled salinity levels based on current conditions and compared them to conditions 50 years in the future, including by accounting for sea level rise and public water withdrawals, and then modeled the extent to which the project would affect salinity. The Corps acknowledged "signs of salinity stress" from earlier deepening projects, sea level rise, and public water withdrawals but found that the project would cause only minor salinity increases that would have "only a nonexistent to minor effect on surrounding wetlands." The court rejected the plaintiff's various challenges to this analysis and found that the Corps took the required hard look at potential cumulative impacts of salinity increases. The court also found that the plaintiff failed to show what new information about the project's impacts could be ascertained through further study of Hurricane Irma. 08/01/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Combined motion for summary judgment and to supplement the record filed by plaintiff. 01/19/2018 Order Download Motion for preliminary injunction denied and motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part. The court dismissed without prejudice the claim that the Corps violated NEPA by failing to prepare an EIS for the 11-mile dredging project. The court allowed the plaintiff to proceed with the claim that the Corps should have prepared a supplemental EIS to consider flooding after Hurricane Irma. 11/09/2017 Complaint Download First amended complaint filed.