Tulloch Rule (Wetlands)

ferry at mscd.edu ferry at mscd.edu
Mon Jan 18 15:30:10 EST 1999


In article <369F6E49.78D3 at livingston.net>,
  dstaples at livingston.net wrote:
> Date:
>         Fri, 15 Jan 1999 07:14:54 -0800 (PST)
>    From:
>         Loren Larson <acf at igc.apc.org>
> Reply-To:
>         Conference "saf.news" <saf-news at igc.apc.org>
>      To:
>         Recipients of saf-news <saf-news at igc.apc.org>
>
> Landowners win wetlands case
>                      Thursday, January 14, 1999
>
> The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not seek a Supreme Court review of
> a lower court decision that
> allows landowners to remove soil from wetlands without a permit.
>
> This decision is being lauded as a hard-fought victory for landowners by
> the National Association of Home
> Builders. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not commenting on the
> case.
>
> The decision not to seek a Supreme Court review comes after  three lower
> court decisions had found the Tulloch Rule, which  regulated the removal
> of material from wetlands, to  be an illegal expansion of the U.S. Army
> Corps of Engineers  regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.
>
> "Since 1977, Congress has made it clear that the Corps is to provide an
> efficient wetlands regulatory program. In trying to legislate through
> regulation, thereby expanding its authority beyond what Congress
> intended,
> the Corps created an illegal, invalid regulation," said Charlie Ruma,
> president of the home builders association.
>

This is from the Monday January 18,1999 issue of USA Today.  Unlike the
statement above, this article shows that this ruling is being use to drain
valuable wetlands across the county as well as to dredge streams.  The
Property Rights People have always called the controls unnecessary.  But by
reading this article, you will see there is no personal responsibility being
taken by these property owners or developers = It is just the old destroy and
profit and run mentality.  And future generations will be left with a
disaster!


Ruling Allows Draining of Wetlands without Permits.

By Traci Watson

Mining companies and developers are now free to drain and dredge wetlands
across the country because of a recent court decision. Forested bogs already
have been cleared in Virginia and wetlands have been drained in North
Carolina with none of the usual government oversight, federal officials say.
This development is welcomed by landowners worn out by red tape, but
environmentalists are dismayed. Not all wetlands will be affected by the
court decision.  Wetlands that are easy to drain are most likely to be
affected, as are wetlands that block economic development.  Federal officials
are likely to interpret the ruling differently in different parts of the
country. Biologists say that wetlands provide valuable wildlife habitat and
help protect water quality in rivers and bays by filtering out pollutants.
"We easily could see wetlands losses of thousands of acres, just in this
district;' says Greg Culpepper in the Norfolk, Va., office of the Army Corps
of Engineers.  His district covers 60% of Virginia. In draining wetlands
unsupervised, developers, miners and others are following a 1997 district
court decision that overturned a 5-year-old federal rule about wetlands. 
That rule required anyone who wanted to dredge or drain a wetland to apply
for a permit from the Corps. Government lawyers argued that the rule could be
justified by the Clean Water Act, which governs the use of wetlands. The
judges decided that the Clean Water Act forbids filling of wetlands but has
nothing to say about draining wetlands.  The district court ruling was upheld
by an appeals court in July.  This month, the federal government decided not
to appeal again. Before the wetland's rule was overturned, the Corps had
rejected some applications for draining or dredging wetlands, and approved
others if steps were taken to protect wildlife.  Now, however, developers and
others don't have to notify the Corps that they're draining, so no one is
keeping track of the court decision's impact. Federal officials report that
wetlands across the country are at risk of being destroyed or have actually
been drained: 1 In southern Virginia, developers plan to drain 3,700 acres of
forested wetlands.  Much of it is part of the Great Dismal Swamp, which is in
the national wildlife reserve system. 2 In northern California, Cottonwood
Creek, a trout stream, is being dug up for gravel.  Backed by the
anti-drainage rule, Army Corps officials had been working to keep miners from
scooping out the creek bottom.	Now the officials have no regulations to back
them. 3.  In eastern Wisconsin, landowners are digging through willow marshes
and wetlands known as wet meadows to make swimming ponds without getting
permits.

Landowners, miners and others say the freedom to dig up some wetlands
unhindered is long overdue. Many landowners say that federal wetlands laws
are far too severe and that the government's definition of a wetland is too
broad because it includes land that is dry most of the year, such as pools of
water that exist only during the spring. "I'm glad to see the court take that
stand," says Zachary Taylor, a landowner in New Bern, N.C. "The so-called
wetlands being ditched as a result of (the rule) weren't true wetlands to
begin with." The decision spares small landowners and miners from the expense
and bureaucracy of applying for a permit. County flood control managers also
are relieved at being able to dredge the sediments out of flood control
channels without having to get permits.



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