A crew from
Topcor Companies Inc. moves a new section of guard rail with crossed
pistols into place on top of the Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge in late January. (Karen Wink/American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, July 02, 2012 1:36 PMJudge Clayton Davis is expected to rule later this week on a motion to stay the upcoming trial of a lawsuit the state filed against ConocoPhillips pending the outcome of an environmental impact study. In the complaint, attorneys for the state transportation department claim two releases of ethylene dichloride by ConocoPhillips in 1987 and 1994 contaminated the area around the Interstate 10 Calcasieu River bridge, complicating the agency’s planned improvements. EDC is a chemical used in the production of certain compounds, including vinyl chloride, and is classified as hazardous waste when released into the environment, the complaint says. Environmental testing results released May 14, 2007, show that EDC soil contamination had moved into the area around the bridge. The state claims it must now incorporate different, possibly more expensive, bridge designs that wouldn’t require it to disturb the contaminated area. Glenn Farnet, the attorney for ConocoPhillips, on Tuesday told Davis that the federally required environmental impact study is part of the process that would determine the design of the replacement bridge. Farnet said going to trial before that study is complete would not be beneficial to either party. He said such a study takes about three years to complete. Farnet said that until state officials know what type of design they will need, it’s impossible to calculate an estimated construction cost when assessing possible damages.