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Supreme Court to Review Key Wetlands Jurisdiction Case

Over the objections of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it would hear Sackett v. EPA, which challenges administrative compliance orders issued by EPA under the Clean Water Act.

According to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), this could have implications for other EPA orders, including those under the Clean Air Act. In this case, landowners building a house in a residential area in Idaho received an order from EPA that they had altered jurisdictional wetlands without a permit. The plaintiffs argued that such an action by EPA is "arbitrary and capricious" under the Administrative Procedure Act and a violation of due process rights because it was issued without a hearing.

NSSGA said they intend to show the fundamental unfairness in how the EPA issues the compliance orders, which force recipients to comply or face ruinous civil penalties. No schedule has been set, but a hearing could be held in the fall. This action comes as EPA extended the comment deadline to July 31 on guidance that seeks to place more areas under Clean Water Act jurisdiction.