Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Supreme Court May Muddy Water Law


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Liz Judge:
EPA Shares Water Priorities, Action Timelines on Twitter

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that 55 percent of U.S. streams and rivers are in “poor” condition, according to its most ...

by Patti Goldman:
Nature Is Up For A Vote Today In Congress

Forty years of environmental progress is under attack today by a vote in the House of Representative on a stop-gap funding measure to keep the federal...

by Terry Winckler:
Massive Attacks on Environment Launched in Congress

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bil...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Tom Turner's blog posts
02 July 2008, 3:25 AM
 

At the very end of the current term of the Supreme Court, the justices announced that they will review a Ninth Circuit decision that forbids Coeur Alaska, a mining company, from dumping mine tailings into Lower Slate Lake north of Juneau, Alaska.

This is not the best news of the week.

The company admits that the tailings will essentially kill all life in the lake but that restoration can be undertaken later. The Army Corps of Engineers, which issued permits for the mine, agreed with Coeur.

Earthjustice, on behalf of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and other groups, sued to challenge the permit as a gross violation of the Clean Water Act and an extremely dangerous precedent that could put lakes, streams, and wetlands in jeopardy across the country.

The trial court in Alaska agreed with the Corps and the company, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiffs and reversed the lower court. Our attorneys are hopeful that they can persuade the high court to leave well enough alone, and possibly reaffirm the commonsense proposition that Congress did not intend the Clean Water Act to allow the defiling of the nation's waterways with mine waste.

It takes only four justices to grant review, so it all may boil down to Justice Kennedy as have so many recent decisions, including the one from a year ago that confirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to control greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Briefs will be written over the summer and fall; oral argument will probably occur later this year or early next. This sounds like one that will provoke friend-of-the-court briefs from all over.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.