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Cook Inletkeeper v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20129
Nos. 3:12-cv-0205, (D. Alaska, 05/27/2014) (Beistline, J.)

A district court upheld a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit issued under CWA §404 for a railroad extension project in an area surrounded by wetlands. Two functional assessments were prepared for the project. An environmental group argued that the second functional assessment, which was performed by the railroad and adopted by the Corps, significantly undervalued the wetlands to be filled and completely failed to account for impacts to adjacent wetlands. It also claimed that there were discrepancies between the two assessments. But the Corps' responses to comments posed by FWS and EPA are clear and comprehensive, and the method for combining the assessment methods and the reasons for doing so were explained in detail. The court, therefore, deferred to the Corps and granted summary judgment in its favor.