M. Reed Hopper

Senior Attorney Washington

Reed Hopper was a Senior Attorney in PLF’s Environmental Law practice group. He oversaw the Foundation’s Endangered Species Act program that is designed to ensure that species protections are consistent with individual rights, the rule of law, and other social values. Reed also oversaw PLF’s Clean Water Act Project that targets illegal federal regulation of local land and water use.

Reed was one of our leading litigators, and it is with deep sadness that we convey the news that he tragically passed away on Christmas, 2017.

We wish to extend to Reed’s wife, Cathy, and all his family, our profound condolences.

A man of conviction, courage and compassion, Reed was a loving family man and generous friend and on the professional level, a brilliant litigator and renowned Supreme Court advocate.

In his own words, Reed “always had a strong patriotic spirit and a desire to serve his country.” Before joining PLF in 1987, Reed served as an Environmental Protection Officer and Hearing Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he “gained a love for the law.” Spurred by that love and his reverence for “our constitutional way of life,” he “could not tolerate injustice.” Joining PLF allowed him to translate those sentiments into action. It gave him the opportunity, as he put it, “to rectify unjust actions perpetrated by overreaching government.” At PLF, he relished “getting up each morning to fight for a just cause.”

Reed won precedent-setting cases at all levels of the judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2006, he won the landmark Supreme Court case of Rapanos v. United States, which blocked Clean Water Act regulators from expanding their power to cover, potentially, every pond and pothole in the country. Two years ago he was victorious again in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, in which the Supreme Court agreed that landowners can appeal to the courts when their property is designated as federal wetlands. This historic ruling ensures that federal agencies across the board are accountable to the law and the Constitution. In an important Clean Water Act case—National Manufacturers Association v. U.S.—Reed represented property owners from across the nation fighting for their right to bring challenges to EPA rules in federal court.

Reed graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Bachelor’s Degree in German and major work in biochemistry. He earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

Reed will be sorely missed by all who benefited from his friendship and counsel. At PLF, his memory and inspiration will empower us to keep fighting for the causes dear to his heart, and ours.

National Association of Manufactures v. Department of Defense

Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court victory for PLF and property rights

In 2015 PLF challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to stretch federal control to nearly every pond, ditch, and puddle in the nation as nothing more than an outrageous—and illegal—power grab under cover of the Clean Water Act. And under the Act, people who are harmed by such rules have six years to sue in federal di ...

Kent Recycling Services, LLC v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Landowners win right to challenge wetland determinations in court

Kent Recycling Services wanted to establish a solid waste landfill in Louisiana. But an overzealous Corps of Engineers issued a Jurisdictional Determination claiming the property contained wetlands subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. Kent disputed this claim and sued. Lower courts rejected his lawsuit as unripe on the theory th ...

Landowners win right to challenge wetland determinations in court U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes

Landowners win right to challenge wetland determinations in court

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 see ...

Uintah County v. Zinke

Landowners attack unrestrained federal “wild lands” policy

In 2010, the Department of Interior issued an order known as the “Wild Lands policy” that directed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to preserve “wilderness characteristics” in federal areas not covered by other wilderness protection laws. BLM then imposes restrictive land use regulations on those areas and inserts itself ...

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November 30, 2017

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October 19, 2017

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September 08, 2017

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August 14, 2017

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July 31, 2017

PLF sues U.S Fish and Wildlife to protect small businesses

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