BRADENTON, Fla. – A federal permit improperly allows the Alabama Department of Transportation to begin work on the 52-mile, $5.4 billion “Northern Beltline” project near Birmingham, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The Corps of Engineers failed to follow requirements of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when permitting a 1.86-mile section of the project, which improperly segments the route, said the suit filed Friday in Middle Alabama District Court on behalf of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper Inc., a local nonprofit environmental group.

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