Energy - Environment
9:38 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Mo. Environmental Group Sues Army Corps Over Pipeline Project

Updated at 5:00 p.m.

A St. Louis-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to provide information about a multi-state oil pipeline project.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the Corps unlawfully withheld documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The group is trying to find out more about plans by the Canadian energy company Enbridge to build a 600-mile pipeline that would carry oil through parts of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Great Rivers Environmental Law Center attorney Henry Robertson is representing the Coalition in the suit.

"We were interested in Enbridge’s applications that showed the route of the pipeline, and the environmental impacts,” Robertson said. “We were also interested in […] risk to endangered species. We were also concerned about plans for dealing with spills.”

Robertson says the Coalition wants to stop construction of the pipeline, which began last week.

Robertson says unlike the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, the Enbridge project has largely flown through under the radar ― even though both pipelines would carry tar sands oil from Canada.

“There have been some serious spills and leaks from tar sands pipelines, and it’s much more difficult to clean up and deal with than regular oil,” Robertson said.

Robertson says producing tar sands oil also contributes more to climate change than producing conventional crude.

When asked to discuss the lawsuit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it does not comment on pending litigation.

You can find out more about the pipeline in this story by Tina Casagrand for the St. Louis Beacon.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter@KWMUScience