June 1, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that property owners can challenge government decisions about whether a wetland or stream is subject to Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements. The court unanimously ruled that “jurisdictional determinations” on permitting requirements constitute final agency actions and, therefore, are subject to judicial review.
The case, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., involved peat mining by three companies that wanted to discharge material into wetlands on their property in Marshall County, Minn.
Pacific Legal Foundation’s M. Reed Hooper, an attorney representing the businesses, called the ruling a “triumph for property rights.” Hooper noted that for the past 40 years, landowners in the U.S. had no meaningful way to challenge wrongful application of the federal Clean Water Act to their land.