In a positive move for electric cooperatives, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that landowners can legally challenge the Army Corps of Engineers over its determination that property use is restricted under the Clean Water Act.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a hopeful one for co-ops. (Photo By: iStock/GettyImages)
Before this unanimous decision,  electric co-ops had to accept such a determination.
“Without opportunity to immediately challenge the decision in court, co-ops faced a lengthy and expensive permitting process or risked significant noncompliance penalties and fines before having its day in court,” said Dorothy Kellogg, senior principal at NRECA.
“Under this ruling, a co-op that disagrees with a Corps determination can seek judicial review and avoid expending the resources to obtain a possibly unnecessary permit. We are hopeful that this decision will lead to better and more consistent decisions by the Corps.”
NRECA participated in the case through the Utility Water Act Group with a brief to Supreme Court supporting the position that jurisdictional determinations by the Corps are final agency actions and reviewable by a court.
“As we have long held, parties need not await enforcement proceedings before challenging final agency action where such proceedings carry the risk of ‘serious criminal and civil penalties,’” the justices said in their May 31 decision.
Originally posted on www.ect.coop