Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency suffered a major loss on Tuesday in a case that dealt with whether property owners must obtain use permits from the federal government.
The Hill reported that the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a “landowner can appeal through the federal court system a determination from the Army Corps of Engineers that a water body is subject to federal jurisdiction and permit requirements under the Clean Water Act.”
In the case of Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., the justices ruled that if the Corps determines an owner’s property to be wetlands, there is a “final agency action” and therefore able to be appealed directly through the federal court system.
“For more than 40 years, millions of landowners nationwide have had no meaningful way to challenge wrongful application of the federal Clean Water Act to their land. They have been put at the mercy of the government because land covered by the Act is subject to complete federal control,” principal attorney M. Reed Hopper of the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation said in a statement Tuesday, according to Western Journalism. “This victory guarantees the rights of millions of property owners.”
This came a year after the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA jointly released a new regulation expanding the waterways covered under their jurisdictions. Conservatives saw this as another instance of the Obama administration engaging in executive overreach without legal authorization from Congress.
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