Supreme Court ruling gives landowners opportunity to challenge water designations under Clean Water Act
June 10, 2016
Thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling, farmers now have the ability to challenge the federal government when the Army Corps of Engineers improperly regulates land in an effort to protect water, according to a press release from the American Farm Bureau Federation.
"When a farmer or rancher gets and improved jurisdictional determination that's issued by the Corps of Engineers, if they believe the Corps has overstepped the bounds of the Clean Water Act, after they exhaust all of their administrative remedies they can file a lawsuit in a federal court," said Danielle Quist, the senior counsel for public policy at the American Farm Bureau.
The unanimous ruling will help save farmers and ranchers time and money in jurisdictional determinations, Quist said.
"They have that option to go to court and not spend years getting a permit," she said. "It speeds things up. They don't have to wait years to find out if their land is subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction."
In addition to issuing the unanimous decision, three justices also wrote concurring opinions expressing their concern about certain aspects of the Clean Water Act.
"I think its very telling that justices did write a separate concurring opinion and they did express their concerns about the systemic consequences and the reach of the Clean Water Act," she said. "So that should tell the EPA and the Corps that there are some very serious problems and that this court is very aware of them."