Court tosses Louisiana’s suit over widening waterway

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NEW ORLEANS, LA – AUGUST 23: The $1.1 billion Lake Borgne Surge Barrier stands near the confluence of and across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet on August 23, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The massive structure was built by the Army Corps of Engineers along with other reinforcements to defend the city of New Orleans against future hurricanes and storms. The nearly 2 mile long, 26 foot high barrier is designed to block deadly storm surge from Lake Borgne, similar to what ravaged the Lower Ninth Ward during Hurricane Katrina. According to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Louisiana’s combination of rising waters and sinking land give it one of the highest rates of relative sea level rise on the planet. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost over 2,000 square miles of land and wetlands, an area roughly the size of Delaware. In the past 30 years, as subsidence continues and the effects of climate change increase, Louisiana has been losing its coastal landscape at the rate of almost a football fields worth of land every hour. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A federal appeals court has rejected Louisiana’s lawsuit alleging that a federal canal has expanded well beyond its legal boundaries.

The 2018 suit claimed the Army Corps of Engineers failed to maintain the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

The state says that resulted in the waterway extending onto state land. When the lawsuit was filed, Attorney General Jeff Landry and Congressman Graves said the problem contributes to coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the law cited by Landry does not require the Corps to maintain the waterway at a certain width. 

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