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Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 1344, authorizes the United States Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters at specified disposal sites.
Plaintiff mining associations challenged a 1993 regulation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that removed a de minimis exception to § 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 1344, and expanded the definition of dredged discharge to include redeposit of dredged materials, including fallback, under the statute. The plaintiffs alleged that the 1993 regulation exceeded the scope of the Corps' regulatory authority under the Act by regulating fallback. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the mining associations and enjoined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing the regulation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appealed.
Did the 1993 regulation exceed the scope of the Corps' regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act?
The court affirmed the district court's ruling. The court held that by asserting jurisdiction over "any redeposit," including incidental fallback, the 1993 regulation was beyond the statutory authority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The court also affirmed the district court's nationwide enjoinment of the enforcement of the regulation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA.