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Federal judge dismisses EBR's lawsuit over Iberville aqua dams

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BATON ROUGE- Federal Judge Brian Jackson dismissed East Baton Rouge Parish's lawsuit against Iberville Parish over the use of aqua dams to protect residents on the eastside of the parish.

The Judge granted Iberville Parish's motion to dismiss the suit due to a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Iberville contended that this was a parish matter and did not deserve to be in federal court.

The fight over the aqua dams began shortly after the 2016 flood when they were purchased to keep water in Bayou Manchac. East Baton Rouge was concerned that the flood barrier could cause residents in Baton Rouge to flood.

The parish took quick action last year during Barry by securing a restraining order signed by a federal judge to block Iberville Parish from inflating them. It worked.

But now, with Judge Jackson tossing the suit, the aqua dam equipment is being readied again as the unknown threat from Laura looms.

"Our contractor has started the mobilization, what we are going to do is stage all of our equipment and manpower and what we need to deploy these things if needed," Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso said.

Ourso said from the beginning, there has never been any conversation with Iberville or Ascension about the downstream impacts of East Baton Rouge Parish's developments. He said the aqua dams simply will protect his people from the flooding that East Baton Rouge discharges.

"I don't want to hurt anyone from East Baton Rouge, but in the same token don't hurt our people in Iberville," Ourso said.

We reached out to East Baton Rouge Parish about whether it intends to appeal Judge Jackson's ruling. A spokesperson for Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said he couldn't comment due to the pending litigation.

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