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AGC Wins Big in Unanimous Supreme Court Decision on Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

June 2, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that will allow landowners to challenge a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determination that a jurisdictional “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) is present on property where they want to build.  A “jurisdictional determination” significantly impacts how land may be used, dramatically raises costs, and often reduces the feasibility of constructing critical infrastructure. AGC submitted a joint “friend of the court” brief in the case, US Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., making a strong case for why it is vital for contractors to know with certainty whether their property contains a WOTUS. The Court’s findings closely track the points AGC argued in its joint amicus brief.  AGC was the only trade association to advance the commercial construction industry’s interest in the outcome of this case and, once again, AGC has succeeded in changing facts on the ground. This decision will have a material impact on the way that the Section 404 permit program actually functions.

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