Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed suit today against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the continued erosion of the Intracoastal Waterway in Vermilion Parish.
Landry held a press conference outside the LITE Center in Lafayette to announce the suit. Interestingly, Landry has opposed other similar legal action against oil companies for similar damages to Louisiana’s coast.
In the suit, Landry cites the original 1928 servitude grant for the waterway, which allowed for a 300-foot-wide servitude for the Intracoastal Waterway to stretch from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas. According to the court filing, the waterway has been allowed to widen over the years to as much as 670 feet in certain places — more than twice the agreed servitude width.
When pressed on the apparent hypocrisy of suing the government for damages to the coast from erosion along the waterway after blasting Gov. John Bel Edwards for pursuing similar actions against oil companies, Landry deferred comment.
“One lawsuit at a time,” Landry said. “We’re going to address this first.”
The lawsuit seeks to have the waterway’s width reduced and the “restoration of the property to its condition before the encroachment began.”
Edwards released a statement on the lawsuit Friday afternoon, saying Landry had not consulted with other state officials prior to filing the legal action.
“The Attorney General did not consult with the governor or the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority on his lawsuit,” the statement read. “It’s unfortunate that the agency charged with developing strategies for dealing with coastal wetlands was not consulted at all. While coastal restoration is a top priority of Gov. Edwards, as evidenced by the significant work we have done over the last two years to expedite projects, we will review the lawsuit once the language is provided to us and determine the best path forward for the state.”
News 15’s Alex Worstell will have a full story on the lawsuit tonight on News 15 at 5, 6, 9 and 10.