Environmental group files lawsuit against state over landfill

The Louisiana Environmental Action Network filed a lawsuit Monday against the state Department of Environmental Quality, asking the court to toss out a permit the state recently granted for the operation of a landfill in north Baton Rouge.

DEQ granted Louisiana Land Acquisitions a permit on April 4 to operate an industrial waste landfill along Brooklawn Road.

DEQ had denied an earlier application from the company but approved another application submitted by the company last year.

The lawsuit, filed in 19th Judicial District Court, states that DEQ didn’t have the authority to issue the permit because the previous permit application is still under review by the 19th Judicial District Court.

Louisiana Land Acquisitions asked the court to review the application denied by DEQ, but before the court issued a final decision, the company submitted another application, which DEQ approved.

“It wasn’t within DEQ’s jurisdiction to grant at this point,” said Adam Babich, director of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic. Babich filed the lawsuit on behalf of LEAN.

“It’s the same facility. Same permittee. It’s not really a different permit,” Babich said.

Another argument in the lawsuit is that DEQ did not consider the overall environmental cost of the project or the impact it would have on the nearby community of Alsen.

“DEQ is proposing to put this in an area that is already under a lot of environmental stress from other sources,” Babich said.

In April, the Metro Council said it had hired attorneys to also file a lawsuit to oppose the permit.

Years ago, a pit was constructed at the site of the landfill to handle hazardous waste from Petro-Processors of Louisiana Superfund site across the road, but plans changed and the pit has sat empty for years. Two previous permit applications to use the site for industrial waste were denied, primarily because it was determined there was already enough landfill capacity in the area.

The permit submitted last year reduced the landfill’s planned service area, which was cited as a main reason for the permit approval.

Follow Amy Wold on Twitter, @awold10.