The Livingston Parish president is expected to ask the parish council on Thursday night for permission to sue Ascension Parish over the proposed Laurel Ridge Levee project.
Layton Ricks said he decided to seek the lawsuit after Ascension did not provide the information he and the parish's engineers need to determine what effect the levee will have on flooding in lower Livingston Parish.
"I'm suing to stop it until we can at least get the information to see what effect it's going to have," Ricks said in an interview Monday.
Ascension Parish government spokesman Martin McConnell said he couldn't comment on litigation.
An amended council meeting agenda released Monday indicates Ricks will ask the council to consider a resolution authorizing him to file a petition for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against Ascension Parish on the levee construction.
Ricks said Ascension provided information to Livingston's engineers after they requested it but left out some hydrology studies. The levee proposed by Ascension Parish is meant to protect some 500 residents in the St. Amant and Lake areas from flooding along the Amite River.
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The $24 million, 4.5-mile extension is a joint venture between Ascension Parish and the Pontchartrain Levee District. It's projected to extend north from the existing Laurel Ridge Levee and have control gates that would normally remain open but could be shut when the Amite River reaches flood stage.
Ricks said he does not plan to sue the levee district at this time.
The project has been under discussion since the late 1970s. But Ricks has said he was blindsided when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a key wetlands permit in February.
Ricks has said he was aware of the general project but was not appropriately consulted as Ascension got closer to getting its permit. Ascension officials have refuted this, saying the project was discussed just last year at a meeting Ricks attended.
George Hudson, a hydrologist with Gulf Engineers & Consultants who has studied the potential impacts of the levee for Ascension Parish, said last month that he anticipates the levee would have a "very insignificant" effect on the unprotected areas outside of it.
His study indicates the levee would cause water levels to rise about three-quarters of an inch outside the protected area, but he said that effect would not extend to French Settlement, the community directly across the river in Livingston Parish.
The levee project has also caused concern among residents and officials in lower Livingston Parish. A meeting about the project is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Port Vincent Town Hall.