According to City Business, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is appealing the dismissal of a federal lawsuit alleging the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway’s repeated widening is cutting away at Louisiana’s land — particularly that of Vermillion Parish — and is contributing to coastal erosion.
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is situated along the Gulf Coast and runs from Carrabelle, Florida to Brownsville, Texas. As a vast waterway, it provides an ideal channel for barge transportation. Advantageous as the waterway may be, Landry stated in his appeal to U.S. District Judge Michael Juneau in February that the canal has been expanded far past the limits that were set in its 1920s agreement.
Landry also alleged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is largely at fault for permitting the widening of the waterway.
“Our intent is to compel the Army Corps of Engineers to properly maintain this waterway, which is a critical piece of infrastructure impacting Louisiana’s coastal zone,” Chief Deputy Attorney General Wilbur Stiles III told Louisiana Record. “The failure to do so is contributing to coastal erosion and land loss.”
Landry’s office is committed to ensuring that the agreement is not further violated and is prepared to do what is necessary to protect the state and its landowners who are being harmed by the widening.
“We believe that mitigating their dereliction of this waterway and their contractual obligations under their agreement with the state and landowners would be a tremendous value to the coastal zone’s sustainability,” Stiles said.
Stiles said that while it is frustrating that an appeal has become necessary, he remains confident in Landry’s ability to affect the change needed.
“Why previous administrations have not taken the steps we have, I cannot answer,” Stiles said. “What I can say is that as a former congressman from the 3rd Congressional District ... Landry is very familiar with these issues and problems.”