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 12/02/2020 Motion Download Motion filed by federal defendants for voluntary remand without vacatur. Corps of Engineers Sought Voluntary Remand for Reevaluation of Permit for Petrochemical Plant. On December 2, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moved for voluntary remand without vacatur and dismissal in a case challenging a Section 404 dredge-and-fill permit for a new petrochemical plant in Louisiana. Several weeks earlier the Corps gave notice to the company developing the plant that it had suspended the permit and was reevaluating it due to potential defects in the Clean Water Act alternatives analysis. The Corps said their review would result in a new final agency action that would be subject to judicial review. Center for Biological Diversity and other plaintiffs asserted claims under the National Environmental Policy Act—alleging inadequate climate change analysis—as well as the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. 11/13/2020 Status Report Download Status report filed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 11/05/2020 Response Download Response filed by plaintiffs to federal defendants' motion to stay summary judgment briefing. 11/04/2020 Motion Download Motion filed by federal defendants' to stay summary judgment briefing pending resolution of motion for voluntary remand. 10/01/2020 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs. 09/22/2020 Memorandum Opinion and Order Download Plaintiffs' motion to admit extra-record evidence granted in part and denied in part; defendant-intervenor's conditional cross-motion to add extra-record evidence denied. 07/23/2020 Stipulation Download Stipulation, proposed scheduling order, and [proposed] order filed. 07/14/2020 Motion Download Motion for preliminary injunction filed by plaintiffs. 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.