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Butler v. Louisiana Department of Natural Resources

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20016
Nos. 18-CA-414, (La. Ct. App. 5th Cir., 01/30/2019)

A state appellate court reversed a judgment against a coastal use permit issued by Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources for construction of an oil pipeline. The Department argued that the lower court erred in not deferring to the Department's finding that its coastal use permit (CUP) guidelines concerning surface alterations did not apply to the pipeline. The appellate court found that the Department's conclusion that the guidelines were not applicable because the surface of the land would be returned to pre-existing contour after the pipeline was built, and would not increase flood risk, was not unreasonable or arbitrary. The Department also argued the lower court erred in not deferring to its finding that the CUP guidelines concerning effective environmental spill cleanup and emergency response plans did not apply. The appellate court again held the Department made a reasonable determination that the emergency response and contingency plan overview submitted by the pipeline developer constituted effective environmental protection and emergency or contingency plans for the pipeline, in accordance with the CUP guidelines. The court therefore reversed the lower court's judgment and upheld the permit.