Army Corps of Engineers appeals court ruling on Bonnet Carré Spillway openings
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is appealing a January ruling that ordered the agency to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service before future openings of the Bonnet Carré Spillway.
Plaintiffs in the suit included the City of Biloxi, City of D’Iberville, City of Diamondhead, City of Pass Christian, City of Waveland, Hancock County, Harrison County, Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, Inc., and Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association.
Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. agreed with their argument that more frequent, lengthier openings of the Spillway in recent years have caused significant damage to the environment and economy of the Coast.
The Corps argued there was no connection between the injuries claimed and the Corps’ failure to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service. According to the ruling, they pointed to “numerous other factors, including the BP Oil Spill, hurricanes, blue green algae, negative media reporting, and a ‘perception of tainted seafood,’ as contributing to their loss of tourism and oyster fishing.”
WLOX News reached out to Gerald Blessey, an attorney with the Mississippi Sound Coalition, for reaction to this week’s appeal. He said, “The Mississippi Sound Coalition will vigorously defend Judge Guirola’s decision in the Corps’ appeal to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. This case is about the life or death of the future of the Mississippi Sound and our beloved Coastal way of life that depends on it.”
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