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Save Our Wetlands v. Conner

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20010
Nos. No. Civ.A. 98-3625, (E.D. La., 07/20/2000)

The court holds that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or act arbitrarily or capriciously in granting a developer a permit to fill wetlands abutting Lake Ponchatrain in Louisiana without first preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS). The court first holds that the Corps adequately considered the cumulative impacts of filling the wetlands prior to issuing the permit. Although the Corps might have done more to address certain facets of the issue of the cumulative impacts, the Corps engaged in a vigorous, comprehensive assessment of cumulative impacts. Additionally, the Corps considered the isolated nature of the wetlands, and tiered its environmental assessment of the permit onto a Federal Highway Administration EIS that recognized that the wetlands at issue would be developed. Moreover, the Corps required the developer to mitigate the impact of losing the wetlands. In addition, the lack of arbitrariness of the Corps' decision is reflected in the administrative record with extensive comments from federal, state, and local agencies as well as from private and public groups.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (7 pp., ELR Order No. L-253).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Arthur A. Lemann III
Law Offices of Arthur A. Lemann III
938 Lafayette St., New Orleans LA 70113
(504) 522-8104

Counsel for Defendants
Renetta Ford
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000/305-0232