Court decision on wetlands shows need for Clean Water Rule

Media Contacts
John Rumpler

Clean Water Director and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Environment America

WASHINGTON, DC — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the Obama administration today in a case that could make it easier to develop wetlands. The 8-0 ruling in Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. said landowners can go straight to court after federal regulators decide that a piece of property containing wetlands is covered by the Clean Water Act. John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America, issued this statement:
“Wetlands are a critical part of our ecosystem, and they help filter pollutants out of rivers and streams that provide our drinking water. Yet as illustrated by today’s case, there has often been confusion over which wetlands are clearly protected by the Clean Water Act.
“The Court’s decision today underscores the need for the Clean Water Rule. By clarifying which wetlands are automatically protected under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Water Rule avoids costly lawsuits for both landowners and the public. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies have used the courts to halt the Rule itself from going into effect, perpetuating the very confusion that leads to cases like Hawkes.
“The Clean Water Rule is based on sound science and overwhelming public support. The courts should move expeditiously to affirm the Rule, so that all parties can have greater certainty over protection of our vital wetlands.”