Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office filed suit Tuesday against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its plan either to place dredge material from Cleveland Harbor in Lake Erie or refrain from dredging the entire navigation channel unless a non-federal partner pays to place it in confined disposal facilities.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Cleveland, alleges that the Corps -- which has already agreed to help dredge and dispose of sediment for five miles of the six-mile channel -- is violating federal law by asking that a "non-federal partner" pay more than $1.4 million to dispose of 180,000 cubic yards worth of sediment from the channel's sixth mile.
Apart from Ohio attorney, the heads of two state agencies, the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have joined the suit seeks to halt federal agency from putting material dredged from Cleveland harbor into Lake Erie.
Dredging ensures that the water is deep enough for commercial cargo ships to safely navigate. Since the early 1970s, the Army Corps has dredged the Cuyahoga River navigational channel and deposited the dredge material in one of the on-land areas designated for toxic dredge material disposal.
This year, the Corps proposed openly dumping the heavily contaminated dredged material into Lake Erie, the cheapest option for the federal government.
The lawsuit asks a judge to order the Corps to complete dredging this year without dumping sediment into the lake.