Louisiana AG Jeff Landry sues federal government over coastal er - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Louisiana AG Jeff Landry sues federal government over coastal erosion

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The State of Louisiana is suing the federal government over coastal erosion.

Attorney General Jeff Landry filed that lawsuit at the federal courthouse in Lafayette on Friday morning.

The lawsuit blames U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work along the Intracoastal Waterway for the "vast majority" of the state's erosion problems.

"This is part and parcel of the many steps that must be taken to protect Louisiana's fragile coast," Landry explained. 

In the lawsuit, Landry claims the Corps failed to keep the canal at the width specified in a 1926 agreement.

Now, according to the lawsuit, the canal is causing wetlands erosion along state-owned property near White Lake.

"When the Intracoastal Canal was dug, the Corps was granted a 300-foot servitude. Today, in some places, that channel is over 900 feet wide," Landry said.

Landry says the corps has failed to keep the erosion under control, making the coast more vulnerable to hurricanes.

Landry's office is bringing in New Orleans firm Couhig Partners, who say they have successfully sued the Corps before.

"We're not in the business of, as he calls, 'jackpot litigation.' We're there to restore the property to the way it was. Think about it this way. If the guy next to you starts taking your property every day. You're gonna stop him, and that's all we're doing," attorney Rob Couhig said.

Landry intervened in previous lawsuits targeting oil and gas companies for coastal erosion.

He says there's no determination yet if big oil is a culprit, but he dismissed the notion of rising sea levels as a cause.

"Absolutely not! If you're trying to go somewhere in regards to global warming or climate change, I think the facts absolutely stand out. It's a hoax," Landry claimed.

Gov. John Bel Edwards responded to the lawsuit on Friday afternoon. 

"It’s unfortunate that the agency charged with developing strategies for dealing with coastal wetlands was not consulted at all," the governor stated in a press release. "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."

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