Plaintiffs comment on the lawsuit against Army Corp of Engineers & Taylor Shellfish


From the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Army Corps and Taylor Shellfish.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–October 15, 2019

CONTACT: Laura Hendricks  (253) 509-4987

Maradel Gale (206) 842-5133

The Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat (Coalition) and Center For Food Safety welcomes the following attached Federal decision: “The Corps’ issuance of a nationwide permit, at least with respect to activities in the waters of the State of Washington, was arbitrary and capricious and not in accordance with NEPA or the CWA. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 706(2), the Court holds unlawful and sets aside NWP 48 insofar as it authorizes activities in Washington.”

For over two decades, citizens have been ignored by Washington State Agencies and most Counties as shellfish aquaculture lobbying paved the way for the unlimited proliferation of this  industrial conversion of our shorelines. Judge Lasnik stated “The Court finds that the Corps has failed to adequately consider the impacts of commercial shellfish aquaculture activities authorized by NWP 48, that its conclusory findings of minimal individual and cumulative impacts are not supported by substantial evidence in the record, and that its EA does not satisfy the requirements of NEPA and the governing regulations.”

While citizens have been pointing out the limited scientific findings that the Corps and the shellfish industry have used to gain permitting, the Judge noted: “There is no discussion of the impacts on other types of aquatic vegetation, on the benthic community, on fish, on birds, on water quality/chemistry/structures, or on substrate characteristics. There is no discussion of the subtidal zone. There is no discussion regarding the impacts of plastic use in shellfish aquaculture and only a passing reference to a possible side effect of pesticide use.”

As the decision reinforces:”In this case, the Corps acknowledged that reissuance of NWP 48 would have foreseeable environmental impacts on the biotic and abiotic components of coastal waters, the intertidal and subtidal habitats of fish, eelgass, and birds, the marine substrate, the balance between native and non-native species, pollution, and water quality, chemistry, and structure, but failed to describe, much less quantify, these consequences.”

Laura Hendricks, the Director of the Coalition “hopes that Judge Lasnik will choose a remedy  for the Corps permitting that will finally focus on the unlimited aquaculture expansion adverse impacts that threatens the very existence of our marine life and Washington State iconic species that we all treasure.”

 

 

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