Lawsuit: US Army spillway opening hurts wildlife, localities

State News

FILE- In this May 10, 2019 file photo, workers open bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, to divert rising water from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, upriver from New Orleans, in Norco, La. It will be months before state officials know whether losses from floods and spillway openings qualify Louisiana as a fisheries disaster. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials say floods began around November 2018, and a full 12 months’ data is needed to compare to averages for the previous 5 years. The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama asked months ago for US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to declare a fisheries disaster, making federal grants available to affected people. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

LOUISIANA (AP) – (12/27/19) A lawsuit in Mississippi alleges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission hurt wildlife and localities by opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway in Louisiana for prolonged periods of time without considering the consequences.

The federal lawsuit filed this week by several cities, counties and groups accuses the corps and commission of violating federal law by opening the spillway more frequently.

News outlets report the lawsuit seeks a temporary injunction that requires the corps to consult local governments about how to minimize the impacts of opening the spillway.

It also wants the defendants to study the impacts of frequent spillway openings and offer ways to mitigate damage.

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