After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals halted the proposed Port MacKenzie rail-extension project for further consideration of environmental impacts, additional opponents separately sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to overturn the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit the Corps granted for the project. Cook Inletkeeper v. Corps., No. 12-205 ( D. Alaska filed 10/5/12). Additional details about the Ninth Circuit’s ruling appear in Issue 429 of this Update.
The complaint alleges that the Corps permit authorizes destruction of 101.8 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, and temporary impacts to 38.9 acres of wetlands. Plaintiffs also allege that the Corps (i) improperly adopted an environmental impact statement prepared by the Alaska Railroad Corp., and (ii) failed to adequately consider U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Fish and Wildlife Service comments in finalizing the permit. The complaint seeks a declaration that the permit is invalid and a permanent injunction against any construction work that would result in deposit of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States “until a valid permit is issued.”