MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - New legal action has been taken in the fight against a proposed oil pipeline that would run through several Memphis communities.
Memphis Community Against Pollution Inc., Protect our Aquifer, and the Sierra Club have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Byhalia Pipeline.
According to the suit “In early 2021, the Corps verified the use of a fast-track general permit called Nationwide Permit 12 for construction of the pipeline.”
“Nationwide Permit 12 that was approved -- ignored a lot of the severe consequences of contamination to our rivers, contamination to the Memphis Sand Aquifer, contamination to a million people’s drinking water that this pipeline would cause. They said that’s not their concern which we totally disagree,” said MCAP Co-founder Justin Pearson.
Pipeline opponents also say permits like Nationwide Permit 12 are “generally not subject to project-specific analysis and public comment,” as stated in the lawsuit.
“They know the aquifer is there, they just choose to ignore it and I think it’s irresponsible and I think the person who signed it should,” said Protect our Aquifer President Ward Archer.
Pearson and Archer say the permit violates the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.
They’re hoping the court will “vacate all approvals under Nationwide Permit 12 for the Byhalia Pipeline” and put a stop to its future use for that project.
Pearson and Ward also say they’re concerned that MLGW has not come forward to protect Memphis’ water system.
“You sort of have to wonder why do we have to do this? Why are we filing a lawsuit? Why isn’t MLGW filing a lawsuit, why ain’t the city filing a lawsuit?” said Ward.
WMC reached out to MLGW but offices are closed for the holiday.
Plains All American Pipeline, the company behind the project, said they don’t comment on pending legal matters.
The Army Corps of Engineers has not gotten back to WMC about this matter.