Corps, EPA Are All Wet

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A roadside ditch miles from the nearest body of water larger than a puddle

April 01, 2003


Kent Conine, President NAHB


A roadside ditch miles from the nearest body of water larger than a puddle is: A) a breeding ground for mosquitoes; B) a regulated wetland under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency; or C) an eyesore.

According to the most recent wetlands guidelines issued by the Corps and the EPA, the answer is B.

What the Corps and EPA issued this year essentially is no different from their memorandum two years ago after the Supreme Court’s decision in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The court ruled that the Clean Water Act provisions don’t apply to isolated wetlands if they are not adjacent to navigable waters.

The recent guidelines perpetuate the confusing disarray of wetlands regulations. They are ambiguous and let the Corps and the EPA continue to assert jurisdiction in areas where the court has said they have no authority. Home builders and the public deserve far better from government agencies.

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