Supreme Court sidesteps wetlands
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rejected three cases Monday
that sought to restrict the government's authority to
Developers, farm groups, and other organizations argued
that federal regulators have gone too far by blocking
development of property that is miles away from any river
The court turned back appeals involving disputes over
lands in Maryland and Virginia, which are considered part
of the Chesapeake Bay system, and refused to hear the
case of a Michigan man facing prison for destroying wetlands.
The lawyer for the companies trying to develop wetlands
in Newport News, Virginia, told justices that an appeals
court ruling against them extends the Clean Water Act
"to the top of every mountain and the end of every
street in the country."
The Maryland case involved a couple who dug a ditch on
their property in Wicomico County without getting government
Bush administration lawyer Theodore Olson said that the
government needs to be able to protect waterways like
the Chesapeake Bay, which can be affected by work on property
many miles away.
The Michigan man, John A. Rapanos, was convicted of violating
the Clean Water Act for filling his wetlands in Williams
Township with sand to make the land ready for development.
The cases are NewDunn Associates v. United States Corps
of Engineers, 03-637; Deaton v. United States, 03-701;
and Rapanos v. United States, 03-929.