Conservation groups have filed suit in federal court challenging the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ use of a permit that allows construction of bulkheads, seawalls, and other hardened structures to be built in waters of the United States without adequately assessing their environmental impact.
Nationwide Permit 13 authorizes the construction of bank stabilization structures along shorelines with little environmental review and without public notice and review.
Unlike individual permits issued by the Corps, Nationwide Permit 13 allows structures to be built close to two football fields in length without requiring prior approval from the Corps. Nationwide Permit 13 is currently being used by the Corps to authorize approximately 17,500 structures between 2012 and 2017.
“Although these projects are designed to reduce erosion at specific sites, there is a lot of science showing that bulkheads and other structures accelerate erosion in our waters and destroy important shoreline habitat,” said Nate Hunt, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “The negative effects are especially acute on our coasts as more cities, developers, and landowners are constructing bulkheads and sea walls to armor the shoreline in response to sea level rise.”
On behalf of the National Wildlife Federation, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, and Savannah Riverkeeper, the Southern Environmental Law Center has filed a lawsuit against the Corps in United States District Court in Washington, D.C, charging that the agency has violated federal law in failing to demonstrate that the projects authorized over the five-year period of the permit will only have minimal environmental effects as required by the Clean Water Act.
Press Release, October 14, 2014