Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Save Lake Peigneur, Inc. v. Louisiana Department of Natural Resources,

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20216
Nos. 122358E, (La. Dist. Ct., 09/23/2014)

A Louisiana court held that the state erred in issuing a coastal use permit to a natural gas storage and transport company that was needed to create two new natural gas storage caverns in the Jefferson Island salt dome underneath Lake Peigneur. The state's natural resource department violated the state constitution as well as its own guidelines by issuing the permits without considering the potential adverse environmental impacts of the project as a whole. The coastal use guidelines require the agency to follow the guidelines more specifically and to make actual findings as to whether the public would be endangered unreasonably. But the record is devoid of many considerations that the agency should have taken into account, such as implications from bubbling in the lake as well as the possibility for aquifer contamination, the collapse of the salt dome caverns, and explosions. As such, it failed to make the mandatory findings under the coastal use guidelines. The agency also breached its constitutional duty of public trustee by issuing the permit without considering the potential and real adverse environmental impacts of the project. The court therefore remanded the permit for further proceedings. (Plaintiffs' counsel included Dana Sabghir of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic).