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Baykeeper v. Corps of Eng'rs

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20202
Nos. No. S-06-1908, (E.D. Cal., 09/20/2006)

A district court preliminarily enjoined a port from dredging two areas of the San Joaquin River's Deep Water Ship Channel in Stockton, California. Environmental groups argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' dredge and fill permit authorizing the two dredging activities violated the National Environmental Policy Act because it failed to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS). The Corps argued that an EIS was unnecessary because the activities are wholly independent of a larger dredging project in the area and that the two dredging activities, standing alone, do not have any significant environmental effects. Yet the Corps' finding of "independent utility" runs counter to its own regulations, and even if the dredging activities were properly segmented from the larger project, the environmental assessment failed to adequately consider their cumulative impacts. Because the groups also demonstrated the possibility of irreparable harm, the court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the dredging activities pending final resolution of the case.