December 24, 2015

PLF's Mark Miller talks Sinatra and wetlands with Andy Caldwell

By Mark Miller Senior Attorney

Last week, Andy Caldwell and I talked Sinatra, Reagan, Pacific Legal Foundation‘s origin story, and PLF’s latest case before the Supreme Court of the United States: Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. In Hawkes, we intend to convince the Court that Americans have a right of access to the courts when government bureaucrats leave them without the ability to use their property because of mistaken interpretations of the Clean Water Act. We will head to D.C. to argue the case in early spring.

The interview was a great deal of fun and worth a listen!

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes

Hawkes Company is a family-owned business in Minnesota that harvests peat moss, for landscaping. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improperly claimed jurisdiction over the property as regulated wetlands. This put Hawkes in the untenable position of (1) abandoning all use of the land at great loss; (2) spending several hundred thousand dollars to seek an unnecessary federal permit; or (3) using the land without federal approval at the risk of $37,500-a-day fines and criminal prosecution. When Hawkes challenged the Corps in court, lower courts dismissed the case as unripe for review. But the Supreme Court disagreed, holding that a Jurisdictional Determination is a binding legal decision subject to immediate judicial challenge.

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