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Supreme Court Cases Will Decide Fate of Waters Protected By Clean Water Act

Started by djkimmel, January 28, 2006, 06:49:33 PM

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djkimmel

From the Clean Water Network:

All Eyes Focus on Supreme Court Cases That Will Decide the Fate of the Waters Protected By the Clean Water Act

The scope of the country's number one defense for the nation's waters, the Clean Water Act, will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. Last October, the Court decided to take up two important Clean Water Act cases -- Carabell v. United States and United States v. Rapanos - that question whether the Act protects tributaries that flow into larger water bodies and their adjacent wetlands. The developers that brought these cases, and the industrial polluters and others that are supporting them, are even questioning whether Congress has the authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to protect these waters. The Court will hear oral argument in the cases on February 21, and is likely to issue its decision sometime in May or June. 

These are quite possibly the most significant Clean Water Act cases to come before the Supreme Court in the Act's 33 year history. Well over 50% - and perhaps as many as 90% - of the nation's waters are potentially in jeopardy if the Court accepts the developers' and polluters' arguments.  Loss of Clean Water Act safeguards for these waters would remove all federal limits on pollution and destroy millions of acres of valuable wetlands and thousands of stream miles that have been protected since the Clean Water Act's passage in 1972.

Fortunately, an impressive array of local, state, and federal government officials, hunting and fishing advocacy groups, scientists, environmental groups and others from across the political and policy spectrums all filed "friend-of-the-court" briefs on the side of the U.S. government urging the Court to maintain the longstanding protections offered by the Clean Water Act.  This collection of
interested parties includes nine members of Congress directly involved in the passage of the 1972 Act and its reaffirmation in 1977, four former Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and. The Attorneys General of 34 states and the District of Columbia, led by the states of New York and Michigan. All expressed strong support of the Clean Water Act's core safeguard: the requirement to obtain a permit before discharging pollutants into waters of the United States.

The Network extends a huge thank you to all of those who filed briefs in defense of the Clean Water Act.  We would also like to thanks Network members who contacted their state's Attorney General's offices to encourage their AG to sign onto that brief.  The support of 34 states plus DC sends an incredibly powerful message to the Court on how important it is to support the historically broad protections of the Clean Water Act. (If your state's AG signed onto the amicus brief, please call or write to thank him or her for their support . (The list of states that supported the amicus brief is bellow).

CWN will, of course, be following the proceedings of this case closely and will continue to work hard to build the case for protecting the Clean Water Act. You can expect to hear more from the Network as these cases progress.

States that joined the Attorneys General amicus brief: NY, MI, AZ, AR, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, HI, IL,IA, KY, LA, MD, MA, ME, MN, MO, MT, MS, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, WA, WI


Dan here: The Clean Water Act is critically important to the future of our favorite pasttime.

Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of The Bass Federation of Michigan.

djkimmel

Here is an example of things we need to stop. Sure this is in Alaska, but the Army Corps of Engineers is heavily involved in Michigan wetlands permits too:

The Controversial Kensington Mine Rears its Ugly Head Once Again - Say No to Dumping Toxic Mine Waste in Our Nation's Waters

You do not need to be a scientist to understand that dumping toxic mine waste directly into lakes and rivers is incredibly harmful. The Clean Water Act has prohibited this destructive practice for more than 30 years. But now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has authorized a gold mining corporation to dump millions of tons of mine tailings directly into pristine Lower Slate Lake in Alaska, killing all fish and smothering the lake under toxic sludge.

If this plan moves forward it would set an awful precedent for how the nation's mining industry is allowed to dispose of mining tailings and would lead to the destruction of any number of pristine waters. Any place where people fish, hunt, camp, kayak, or just enjoy our nation's lakes, rivers, and streams could become open dumping grounds for coal, hard rock, or metal ore mines.

In November 2005, recognizing that there are problems with its permit decision in the wake of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, the Army Corps suspended the permit it had issued in order to reevaluate its decision. 

This "reevaluation" period gives the Army Corps the chance to do the right thing for Alaska's and America's future by revoking the permit and replacing it with one that protects clean water and does not allow the dumping of industrial waste into Lower Slate Lake.

This issue of great importance to the entire country, but is absolutely critical to the waters of mining states (i.e. coal mining states, mineral and metal mining states, etc.)  In other words, what happens with this permit in Alaska has major implications for us all.

TAKE ACTION NOW!!! Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to Revoke Permit That Allows The Gold Mining Company, Coeur d'Alene Mines Inc, to Dump Mine Tailings Directly into Lower Slate Lake.

Please take action at CWN Steering Committee member Earthjustice's website where entire an section of their Action Center is dedicated to the Kensington Mine issue:

http://ga0.org/campaign/kensington_mine

Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of The Bass Federation of Michigan.

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