Printer Friendly

Supreme Court clears up confusion.

On June 19 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers overextended its permitting authority under the Clean Water Act of 1972 by restricting construction near storm drains and ditches.

While the Clean Water Act allows the Corps to regulate development adjacent to navigable waters, wetlands, or tributaries adjacent to navigable U.S. waters, the ambiguous definition of "adjacent" prompted the court to examine how extensively the federal government can restrict development.

The court ruled that the phrase "waters of the United States" includes only relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water, such as streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes--not storm drains, ditches, or channels that intermittently contain flowing water.


The court consolidated two cases in which the Corps claimed proposed development was too close to navigable waters or wetlands. One case examined construction of a shopping center near a manmade drain located 20 miles from a river; the other involved a condominium development near a ditch that drains into a creek that empties into a lake.

COPYRIGHT 2006 Hanley-Wood, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:RULES & REGULATIONS
Author:Trent, Ashley
Publication:Public Works
Date:Aug 1, 2006
Previous Article:Dirty word or saving grace?
Next Article:Flower power.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters