Today’s Oral Arguments in U.S. Supreme Court Wetlands Cases Suggest Court Is “Concerned About Federal Encroachment”
Former director of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Mackinac Center attorney attend today’s hearing
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Wright added: "The justices’ focus on the federal-state balance of power is appropriate, since that balance lies at the heart of our federalist system of government. The justices clearly recognized that declaring every drainage ditch a potential tributary to a navigable water would give the federal government virtually unlimited control over land use, since most roads and many private properties in America are bordered by drainage ditches or storm drains." Wright expects the court’s decision to be a close one that will determine the extent of federal wetlands regulation for years to come.
Harding commented: "Some of the justices seemed worried that without federal regulation, wetlands and navigable waters might be left vulnerable to polluters. But state and local governments already have ample regulations concerning water pollution, and a ruling against the federal government in these cases will not leave America’s waters exposed to harmful emissions."
The Mackinac Center is a nonprofit research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. A general description of the Rapanos and Carabell cases is available at http://www.mackinac.org/7596. The Mackinac Center’s "friend of the court" brief is available at http://www.mackinac.org/7454.