Author: Reed Hopper
In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the federal government did not have authority to regulate "isolated" water bodies, like ponds, puddles and mudflats that have no connection to navigable waters. To find otherwise, the court noted, would violate the intent of Congress, the clear language of the Clean Water Act, established precedent, and, no doubt, the U.S. Constitution itself. But neither the Corps of Engineers nor the EPA (the agencies tasked with enforcing the Clean Water Act) have ever adopted formal regulations implementing the Supreme Court (SWANCC) decision. As a result, these agencies still cross the line and assert regulatory authority over isolated waters. Apparently, all it takes is a little nudge.
The Associated Press recently ran this story: Corps of Engineers reverses SC wetlands decision.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reversed an earlier finding and concluded that about 32 acres of wetlands in Horry County should be protected under the federal Clean Water Act.
Several years ago the corps ruled the land near the intersection of U.S. 17 and the U.S. 17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet was a so-called isolated wetland and could be developed by a company for a retail complex.
But the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Coastal Conservation League, the state and national wildlife federations and Waccamaw Riverkeeper sued in federal court.
The corps then restudied the area and earlier this month filed a determination in federal court in Charleston that the area should be protected.
Makes you wonder!