Corps of Engineers ordered to stop Industrial Lock Expansion

This barge became an iconic image of the levee failures in New Orleans in August 2005. Photo/Francis James

The Holy Cross neighborhood is victorious today.

According to Adam Babich, Tulane Environmental Law Clinic Director & Professor of Law, “the Industrial Canal expansion project has gone down for the second time.”

The Court granted summary judgment that the Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act by selecting a “deep-draft” plan for its billion dollar Industrial Canal lock replacement project without considering the effect of closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet on the need for a deep-draft canal.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon’s quote of the day on page 16 of the opinion:

“On its face this seems to be the proverbial bridge to nowhere; namely, constructing a deep-draft lock which will never be used by deep-draft traffic.”

Consistent with this Order & Reasons, the supplementary environmental impact study (SEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) are vacated and remanded and the Corps is enjoined from continuing with the Industrial Canal Lock Expansion Project until it complies with NEPA and the CWA.

Holy Cross is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Lower Ninth Ward District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: St. Claude Avenue to the north, St. Bernard Parish to the east, the Mississippi River to the south and the Industrial Canal to the west.

For the 27-page ruling, click here.

3 responses to “Corps of Engineers ordered to stop Industrial Lock Expansion”

  1. John Foix says:

    While I agree that the lock project has been mishandled by the Corps and the judges decision is correct, the fact that you publish this story on your website just continues to demonstrate the vendeta that you have against the Corps. The picture that you published has nothing what so ever to do with the IHNC lock project.

  2. S. Rosenthal says:

    John, thank you for logging on, leaving a comment and placing your point of view here publicly where everyone can see it.

    Sandy Rosenthal, wife, mom, whodat and founder of

  3. John Koeferl says:

    This court order is welcome news not just for the Lower Ninth Ward and environmental organizations but is much broader.

    The Court has stopped the unregulated Corps. It has said “halt” to de facto Corps entitlement to build whatever it wants with little effective concern for the environment. In this case, the Corps had decided after Katrina to go ahead with plans for the MRGO New Lock even after this deep ship channel had eroded miles of protective wetlands and flooded the City.

    The Corps opened the Katrina door but even with all the levee work did not shut it. Instead of doing scientific reassessment of the need for a new lock, requested by neighborhoods and by the Court, the Corps decided to take the low road. It re-named the old project and continued to coast on its presumption of competence and its own arbitrary authority to pull it off.


    For once, thanks to the Court, business as usual didn’t work. Now the people of the Lower Ninth Ward have better prospects for recovery, even with lower levees than rest of the city. It is good for us all that the Corps has been stopped here by the Court.

    Thanks to and all of you for your support to make the Corps accountable. Our work is not done but we can celebrate this moment together.

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