Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD) wants to build a highway in St. Tammany as an alternative to LA 41. But they did a study and found that an alternative route to LA 41 wasn’t needed! Now they want to move this unnecessary highway so that it’ll cut through more of our wetlands on top of building something that we don’t need and most certainly don’t want.
So what does this mean for our wetlands?
This unnecessary highway is set to destroy an additional 25 acres of wetlands on top of a scheduled 305 acres, for a total of 330 acres of wetland damage. When a developer wants to destroy our wetlands, they must mitigate that damage. LDOTD has been planning this highway for nine years and for those nine years, they’ve known that they would have to mitigate their wetland damage and submit a mitigation plan. In those nine years, LDOTD has not submitted a mitigation plan and they’ve very clearly had the opportunity to do so.
Even if LDOTD were to submit a mitigation plan, they would probably not be able to complete the mitigation necessary before the construction of the highway is set to start.
Most importantly, according to LDOTD’s own projected mitigating acres necessary, there are not enough mitigating acres available in all of St. Tammany to properly mitigate this project. LDOTD projects that 5351.2 mitigation credits are necessary but St. Tammany only has 2,941.91 credits available.
The law is clear: LDOTD must have a mitigation plan in place and must mitigate the damage they will cause to our wetlands.
LDOTD has displayed a blatant disregard for the laws of our state and their permit should not be granted.
The Army Corps and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality must deny their permit.
Join us in demanding that the Corps and DEQ deny LDOTD’s permit.
St. Tammany is home to some of Louisiana’s most beautiful rivers and LDOTD is prepared to sacrifice them for the sake of an unnecessary highway.
Write the Army Corps and Department of Environmental Quality today, and tell them to deny this permit.
Brenda.A.Archer@usace.army.mil l Robert Tewis, Project Manager USACE, with your concerns about DOTD's lack of concern for rivers, wetlands and wetlands mitigation.
email@example.com Elizabeth Johnson, LQ DEQ with comments of how lack of wetlands will affect waters in Louisiana.
By Monday, June 9th.
Jeanette Chu is GRN's legal intern in the Water Resources Program.