High court to consider Army Corps' decision on wetlands

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2015 3:43 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will consider the rights of businesses and landowners that the Army Corps of Engineers has determined are subject to the federal Clean Water Act.

The justices said Friday they will hear an appeal from a Minnesota company that says it has no effective means to challenge the Corps' decision that a peat bog is off limits for mining because it contains protected wetlands.

Hawkes Company, Inc. says it can't contest the government's determination without applying for a permit that costs more than $270,000 and takes years to process. A federal appeals court sided with the company, saying it could file a legal challenge.

The Obama administration had urged the high court to take up the case, saying it affects thousands of similar decisions annually and could bog the government down in piecemeal litigation.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that property owners had a right to prompt judicial review when facing an Environmental Protection Agency order halting construction in an area the agency had designated protected wetlands.