Three environmentalist groups filed a suit to stop the LNG terminal in Plaquemines Parish. The judge threw it out.
A Baton Rouge judge has thrown out a state district lawsuit that three environmental groups filed in an attempt to block a Plaquemines Parish liquefied natural gas plant terminal over the plant’s need for a state coastal use permit. Judge Wilson Fields, of the 19th Judicial District Court, dismissed the suit Monday, saying the three groups filed it in the wrong venue, court records show. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Healthy Gulf and Sierra Club filed their challenge in November. They said the state Department of Natural Resources failed to properly judge whether Plaquemines LNG needed a coastal use permit to operate. The Department of Natural Resources determined in 2019 that Plaquemines LNG did not need the permit because the 648-acre plant would not affect nearby coastal waters, according to the groups’ suit.nola.com
The opposition showed that, after Ida, that the levees planned would not hold back the water.
However, the three groups argued that Hurricane Ida in 2021 showed the terminal’s proposed levees would be woefully inadequate and would influence coastal waters enough to require a coastal use permit. Venture Global LNG has said in federal regulatory filings that the site flooded after Ida, which halted construction on the facility for two months. In August, the groups sent a petition to the Department of Natural Resources calling for a coastal use permit. The agency denied that request, which led to the lawsuit. The department argued the lawsuit should have been filed in Plaquemines Parish, where Plaquemines LNG is being built off La. 23 near Pointe Celeste. Fields sided with DNR. Attorneys with the environmental groups did not respond by press time to a request for comment on the groups’ next move. A Department of Natural Resources spokesman said the agency is waiting to see if the environmental groups will appeal Fields’ decision or will file their challenge in another venue, such as Plaquemines Parish. Venture Global officials did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.
Construction has already started and is slated to be operational in 2024.
Construction began on the first phase of Plaquemines LNG in 2021. A second phase is also underway, and the terminal is expected to start shipping LNG in 2024. The suit didn’t appear to deter Venture Global at all. After solidifying a $13.2 billion financing package in 2022 for the first construction phase, Venture Global announced Monday that it has secured another round of financing, this time $7.8 billion, for the second phase. Back in January, Venture Global cleared a preliminary regulatory hurdle to expand its planned capacity at Plaquemines LNG from 24 million tons annually to 27.2 million. Environmental groups had opposed the expansion, citing concerns about the project’s potential impact on air and water quality and climate change, among other issues.
I have trouble thinking the lawyers for the opposing groups made that simple mistake.