On March 31, 2004, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected industry challenges to important national wetland and stream protections. Industry groups had sued to challenge a 2001 rule issued by the EPA and Corps of Engineers, which indicated that a Clean Water Act permit is required for discharges associated with drainage, mechanized landclearing, instream mining, and other environmentally damaging activities. Earthjustice intervened on behalf of environmental groups to oppose the industry arguments.
The District Court's decision is good news for wetlands and streams around the country, which were suffering widespread damage and destruction during the period before the 2001 rule was issued. However, in May 2004 industry appealed the District Court's March decision. Earthjustice plans to continue its defense of the Clean Water Act's key safeguards by opposing this appeal.