Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Atchafalaya Basinkeeper v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20073
Nos. 18-23-SDD-EWD, (M.D. La., 03/25/2020) (Dick, J.)

A district court denied summary judgment to environmental groups in a challenge to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' issuance of permits for construction of a crude oil pipeline across the Atchafalaya Basin. The groups argued that the Corps violated NEPA by failing to take a hard look at the risk of oil spills in the basin, and ignored evidence that the pipeline company's oil spill assessment was incomplete. The court found the EAs prepared for the pipeline confirmed that the Corps reviewed the data and analysis of oil spill risks in concluding that the risk of a large oil spill was minimal, and that the agency comprehensively assessed the environmental impacts of a leak or spill under a variety of circumstances. The groups also argued that the Corps violated the CWA and NEPA by ignoring indirect impacts of constructing the pipeline and failing to recognize or mitigate for significant hydrologic and sediment impacts. The court found that the Corps expressly considered and analyzed secondary impacts of the pipeline and thus complied with its CWA and NEPA obligations. It therefore denied the groups' motion for summary judgment.