Supreme Court Delivers ‘ Smack Down’ to Potential EPA Waters of U.S. Case
The hits just keep on coming to the U.S. government and the Environmental Protection Agency through decisions related to the Waters of the U.S case from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said the latest blow came from a case by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers against a peat moss mine in North Dakota in which the high court decided the EPA had vastly overreached its authority in applying the Clean Water Act.
"The reason this is important for the Waters of the U.S. case, first of all, it's another smack down of the federal government in their administration of the Clean Water Act," Fox said. "That's at the core of the Waters of the U.S. case. Justice Kennedy, who concurred in yesterday's decision made some very interesting statements that we think support our position in the Waters of the U.S. case."
Kennedy wrote in conjunction with Justices Thomas and Alito;
The reach and systemic consequences of the Clean Water Act remain a cause for concern. As Justice Alito has noted in an earlier case, the act's reach is notoriously unclear, and the consequences to landowners, even for inadvertent violations can be crushing. He ends his concurring opinion by saying that the Clean Water Act continues to raise troubling questions regarding the government's power to cast doubt on the full use and enjoyment of private property throughout the nation.
Fox said those comments are encouraging in an 8-0 case.
"Even the justices who are often considered to lean more toward the government's side smacked them down, as well," he said. "We'll continue to fight the fight in the Waters of the U.S. case, and we'll see what happens."
In October of 2015, the Sixth U.S. Court of Appeals ruled to halt the Waters of the U.S.regulations nationwide. The case is expected to head to the full Supreme Court at a later date.