December 7, 2015

The biggest environmental decisions in 2015

By M. Reed Hopper Senior Attorney

The legal news publisher, Law360, has listed two PLF cases among “The Biggest Environmental Decisions in 2015.”   The cases are Kent Recycling v. Army Corps of Engineers and Hawkes v. Army Corps of Engineers.  These cases are noteworthy because they raise an important question that affects millions of landowners across the Nation–whether a landowner can challenge in court a formal determination by the Corps that the landowner’s property contains wetlands, or other waters, subject to federal control under the Clean Water Act.  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Kent Recycling said “no” while the Eighth Circuit in Hawkes said “yes.”  We have asked he High Court to review both cases to resolve the conflict and expect the court to decide any day now.  If the Supreme Court grants review and upholds the decision in Hawkes, it will be the first time in the  history of the Clean Water Act that landowners have a meaningful way to challenge federal overreaching under the Act; a boon to property rights and the rule of law.

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