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National Wildlife Federation v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20060
Nos. 14-1701, (D.D.C., 03/14/2016) (Bates, J.)

A district court held that conservation groups lacked standing to challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to reissue a nationwide permit (NWP 13) authorizing the discharge of dredged and fill material to construct bank stabilization projects. The groups alleged that the Corps reissued NWP 13 in violation of the CWA, ESA, and NEPA. But the court was unable to address the merits of the case because the groups lack standing. The groups failed to establish a substantive injury-in-fact for their ESA claim because they failed to show how any of their members would be "directly affected" by NWP 13 projects. And although the conservation groups’ claim of an actual ongoing harm to their recreational and aesthetic interests supports standing to bring their NEPA and CWA claims, they failed to show that their injury will be redressed by a favorable decision. Here, the only concrete and particularized interest stated in the groups' standing declarations is a harm caused by existing NWP 13 structures. They do not seek the removal of these projects. Their injury, therefore, will not be redressed by the injunctive and declaratory relief sought. Similarly, an order directing the Corps to remedy any procedural failings will not redress their claims.