Minnesota business challenges feds to have their day in court


Should property owners have a right to challenge federal regulators who label their land as “waters of the United States” subject to complete federal control under the Clean Water Act? That is the question before the Supreme Court of the United States in a pivotal case called U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Company.

Hawkes Company is a family-¬owned business that provides peat (a rich organic soil amendment) for landscaping and other purposes. When Hawkes Company sought to expand the business in nearby peat bogs, the Corps of Engineers declared the bogs were subject to federal jurisdiction and Hawkes Company could not proceed without federal approval.

Although a Corps hearing officer ruled the jurisdictional determination lacked sufficient evidence and was in error, the Corps would not back down. The Pacific Legal Foundation will represent Hawkes Company at the U.S. Supreme Court.