FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 15, 2015
(Port Aransas, TX – September 15, 2015) – The Friends of Lydia Ann Channel (“FLAC”) has formally notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) of its intent to file a Federal Lawsuit for violations of the Endangered Species Act and other federal statutes resulting from serious substantive and procedural defects in their authorization of the construction and operation of a commercial industrial barge fleeting, storage, and service facility owned and operated by Lydia Ann Channel Moorings.
This 60-day Notice of Intent is required prior to filing a citizen lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act, which is just one of the federal statutes violated by the USACE.
The USACE’s authorization of this commercial industrial barge fleeting, storage, and service facility violates Section 7 and Section 9 of the ESA, and will result in adverse impacts to and the unlawful “take” of listed endangered species, including specifically whooping cranes, piping plover, rufa red knot, Atlantic hawksbill sea turtle, green sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, and loggerhead sea turtle.
The USACE arbitrarily determined that no effects to listed endangered species would occur without ever requiring, conducting or reviewing any scientific surveys, studies, or evaluations regarding the impacts that would result from the construction and operation of this commercial industrial barge fleeting, storage, and service facility.
In addition, the USACE dismissed or ignored issues raised by other resource agencies, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, related to potential impacts to marine mammals and sea turtles, impacts to seagrass, and the risk of oil or pollutant spills to local habitats.
This industrial facility is currently marketed as the “Lydia Ann Channel Fleet” or the “LAC Fleet”, which its promotional materials and website proudly boasts as “one of the largest fleets in Texas,” covers approximately 65 acres, consists of over 8500 linear feet of steel moorings, and is capable of holding a mixture of 240 barges at any one time. In addition, the LAC Fleet specifically advertises that this commercial barge fleeting and storage facility is “able to accommodate CDC Barges, Hot Oil Barges, Red Flag Barges, and Hopper Barges.”
This commercial industrial barge fleeting, storage, and service facility, which contains barges laden with hazardous substances and dangerous chemicals, is located within the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, directly adjacent to the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, and immediately adjacent to known whooping crane habitat. This area has been used by the public for decades for recreational purposes, including fishing, hunting, swimming, and wildlife photography and observation. The Redfish Bay State Scientific Area is also a favorite among anglers because of the famous Lighthouse Lakes, which is considered to be the preeminent location on earth to fish for tailing red drum. The Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Lighthouse Lakes are also the site of the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail, established in 1999 by TPWD as the first Texas Paddling Trail. These incredible, world renowned public resources are now in grave danger due to their close proximity to a massive, hazardous industrial project which now looms a mere 400 or 500 meters away. In spite of this, the USACE approved this project without any public notice or public comment, without any review of alternative locations for this project, and without conducting or requiring any environmental studies or analysis.
More information about FLAC can be found online at http://savelydiaann.org.
A copy of the 60-day Notice of Intent to sue can be obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce, or the National Marine Fisheries Service; or a Texas Public Information Act Request with the Texas General Land Office or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Aldo Dyer – (361) 882-2202,