Army Corps “either supports nor opposes” Bayou Bridge pipeline project

NEW ORLEANS, La. (KLFY) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District issued a Department of Army permit to Bayou Bridge Pipeline, L.L.C. under Section 10 of the River and Harbors Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

The Corps’ decision to issue the permit for construction of a 24-inch diameter crude oil pipeline followed completion of an Environmental Assessment, Section 408 review and consideration of all comments received during the public notice and comment period.

“The Corps neither supports nor opposes this project,” said Col. Michael Clancy, commander of the New Orleans District in a statement of Thursday. “Our mission is to apply the best science, engineering and information available to determine if a proposed project complies with all regulations under our authority.”

The USACE Individual Permit process requires that an applicant provide a state of Louisiana issued Coastal Use Permit and Water Quality Certification as well as proof that all compensatory wetland mitigation requirements have been satisfied before a final permit decision is rendered.

USACE required the applicant to avoid and minimize jurisdictional wetland impacts to the greatest extent practicable by reducing the proposed project’s footprint and pipeline right-of-way.  The 162.5-mile pipeline will temporarily impact 455 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and include conversion of 142 acres of forested wetlands to permanent pipeline right-of-way, requiring the purchase of 708 acres of mitigation from Corps-approved wetland mitigation banks located within the watershed of impacts.

The combination of avoidance, minimization and mitigation will result in zero net loss of jurisdictional wetlands, the Corps said.

“The Corps carefully weighed the energy benefits of the project while ensuring environmental protections remain in place,” said Martin Mayer, Chief of the New Orleans District Regulatory Branch.  “We will remain vigilant in monitoring the project to ensure that the pipeline remains in compliance with all permit conditions.”

USACE has posted the final Department of Army permit as well as relevant decision documents to its website at http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/bayoubridge/.

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