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Important Supreme Court Decision Involving the Clean Water Act

Posted By Chris Greissing, Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the Obama Administration in a case involving the clean water act and when landowners can challenge certain decisions about water permits in courts.  

The case, Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. involved a North Dakota peat mining company that wanted to challenge a government determination that its mining plans would require Clean Water Act permits.

At issue here was whether the Army Corps of Engineers’ “jurisdictional determinations” about whether permits are required represent “final agency actions” that can be challenged in court.
The Obama Administration’s position has been these actions can not be challenged in the court system, while industry and other opponents have been arguing that they should have the option to contest these decisions in the court system.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion from the court that a jurisdictional determination approved by the Army Corps of Engineers was a final agency action and that is subject to judicial review.

The full opinion and concurring opinions can be viewed here

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