Earlier today, Louisiana Attorney General and Congressman Garret Graves issued this joint statement in reference to the lawsuit. Also, the Attorney General held a press conference which the Congressman was not able to attend.
Attorney General Jeff Landry, with the support of Congressman Garret Graves, announced a lawsuit today against the Corps of Engineers.
"The decline of Louisiana's coastline over the past 50 years has been a constant issue for Louisiana," said General Landry. "Unfortunately, the creation of the Intracoastal Waterway by the Corps has exasperated the problem."
"I commend General Landry and I strongly support this lawsuit today," said Congressman Garret Graves. "It is the right thing to do, and this enforcement is long overdue. Our own federal government should be protecting our rights not treading on them. The bottom line is that if this were happening in California, New York, Florida or Illinois, it would have been stopped and restored decades ago. We cannot stand idle and allow Louisiana to be treated any differently."
In constructing the Intracoastal Waterway, the Corps sought and received a servitude to build and maintain the waterway. That servitude limited the Corps to 300 feet of land use. Today, that channel is as much as 900 feet wide in certain locations, three times the width of the original servitude granted. The Intracoastal Waterway has contributed to land loss, saltwater intrusion, and coastal erosion; and the purpose of this lawsuit is to address that.
General Landry was supported in this effort by Congressman Garret Graves, who was scheduled to be at the event but had to be in Washington D.C. due to the late budget vote. As the former chairman of Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and a member of the committee that has oversight of the Corps of Engineers, Congressman Graves offers an in depth and unique understanding of the problem at hand and the benefits of this lawsuit.
"As Americans, owning and enjoying private property is a fundamental Constitutional right," added Congressman Graves. "For far too long, this right has been ignored and trampled upon. What's worse is this damage, destruction and other abusive and illegal actions are being taken by our own federal government through the Corps of Engineers. This is the same Corps of Engineers that enforces rules and files suit against Americans when they damage or destroy wetlands. It is far time that they be held accountable to the same rules. Our wetlands, our lands and our environment are no less important. This lawsuit ensures that the hypocrisy ends now."
"The failure of the Corps to maintain and preserve the servitude has caused thousands of acres of land along our coast to be lost," concluded General Landry. "The Corps is in direct violation of their servitude agreement. Our lawsuit demands that the Corps of Engineers be enjoined from any further violations of its servitude and restore the damage caused by those violations."
Edwards is a Democrat, Graves and Landry are Republicans.