Environmentalists lose latest court battle against liquified natural gas project in Louisiana


Sep 26, 2023
Environmentalists opposed to a planned liquified natural gas terminal and pipeline in southwest Louisiana lost a court battle a few weeks ago over a federal permit for the project.

The Sierra Club and the Healthy Gulf organization had asked an appeals court in New Orleans to review and vacate the permit granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Driftwood project.

But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned back the effort in a Wednesday afternoon ruling. A panel of three appellate judges rejected multiple arguments against the permit in a 26-page ruling, saying the Corps had complied with requirements of the federal Administrative Procedures Act and the Clean Water Act.
Louisiana, United States
It's disappointing to see environmentalists lose their court battle against the liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline project in Louisiana. The recent ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals underscores the complexities of balancing energy needs and environmental concerns. While the Corps of Engineers was found to have met legal requirements, this decision highlights ongoing challenges in navigating the fine line between development and conservation.
Thanks for sharing this, @riberet19. For those interested, feel free to check out this article for some important additional details about this case. Looks like the environmental groups were claiming that the Corps' permit decision was arbitrary and capricious due to inadequate alternatives analysis and the fact that the Corps didn't require compensatory mitigation as prescribed under the 2008 Mitigation Rule (i.e., banks first, then in-lieu fee credits, then permittee-responsible). It's not clear from the news reporting whether the environmental groups took issue with the Corps' specific mitigation requirement - e.g., the Corps may have allowed the project proponent to use their proposed mitigation plan while higher-preference bank/ILF credits were otherwise readily available - or if the groups' objection was purely procedural. Either way, the judge's decision underscores the fact that the Corps has full discretion to deviate from the hierarchy as long as they can document that the selected option is "environmentally preferable."

For further information on this GPT, visit the U.S. National/Federal GPT page.