Justices Limit 1972 Clean Water Act Conservatives Carry Issue, 5-4

The Florida Times Union, January 10, 2001 | Go to article overview

Justices Limit 1972 Clean Water Act Conservatives Carry Issue, 5-4


WASHINGTON -- Placing new limits on the scope of a key environmental law, a narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a federal agency could not block a landfill project in northwestern Cook County, Ill., solely because the proposed site contained isolated ponds and trenches used by migratory birds.

The 5-4 decision, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, is the latest in a line of cases in recent years to restrain the federal government from intervening in seemingly local matters traditionally handled by states. Although it stopped short of a sweeping ruling on constitutional grounds, the majority emphasized that the federal government should have left the battle over the proposed landfill to Illinois and Cook County.

Permitting the federal government to regulate isolated ponds and trenches used by migratory birds, the court said, would "result in a significant impingement of the states' traditional and primary power over land and water use." As a result, the court shot down the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to assert jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

The dissenting justices didn't see the issue as local. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the dissenters, said the ruling "needlessly weakens our principal safeguard against toxic water."

Stevens said federal regulation was necessary, particularly because the benefits of a new landfill would be disproportionately local, while the costs -- fewer migratory birds -- would be borne by citizens living in other states. He was joined by Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Numerous environmental groups assailed the decision, warning it could jeopardize up to 20 percent of the bodies of water in the United States because many states, they said, don't provide adequate protection.

"One of the ironies is that they are preserving states' rights to deal with the matter, but a great many states don't," said Tim Searchinger, senior attorney of Environmental Defense, who wrote a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. "The argument for states' rights is an argument for no environmental protection, in many cases."

The case has obvious practical importance for the Chicago area because it allows the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County to proceed with plans to build the 142-acre landfill near northwest suburban Bartlett, Ill. The agency, a group of 23 municipalities, has been battling to build the project for 14 years.

Some have suggested that the landfill is no longer economical, but George Van Dusen, Skokie, Ill. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Justices Limit 1972 Clean Water Act Conservatives Carry Issue, 5-4
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.