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E-M:/ Sierra Club response to Supreme Court Clean Water Act Ruling

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>

June 19, 2006

Navis Bermudez 202-675-2392

  Supreme Court Rules Clean Water Act to be decided on Case-by-Case Basis
          Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

In response to the Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos v. U.S. and Carabell v.
Army Corps of Engineers the Sierra Club issued the following statement.

"We are concerned that, as Chief Justice Roberts laments, the "lower courts
and regulated entities will now have to feel their way on a case-by-case
basis." This decision creates a legal situation that will lead to endless
administrative proceedings and legal challenges in the lower courts. We are
encouraged however, that five of the nine justices recognized the
incredible importance of protecting our nation's wetlands and other waters
and rejected the narrow interpretation of the Clean Water Act as put forth
by Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts. This decision provides the
perfect opportunity for Congress to pass the Clean Water Authority
Restoration Act (HR. 1356 & S. 912), and thus clarify that it intended the
broadest possible protections for our nation's waters.

It is also worth noting that in their first major environmental case,
President Bush's two choices for the Supreme Court, Justices Roberts and
Alito, aligned themselves with Justices Scalia and Thomas, who have the
distinction of sharing the worst record in upholding environmental

Background: The Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, gave Congress the power
to regulate discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States. The
cases challenged the broad interpretation of the Clean Water Act, which
protects not only lakes and rivers but the tributaries and wetlands that
feed into those bodies of water.

Virginia Cramer
Media Coordinator
Sierra Club
408 C. Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
tel: 202.675.6279
fax: 202.547.6009

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