March 4, 2016
Yesterday, Attorney General Brad Schimel joined twenty-three states in filing an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. This case challenges the federal government’s attempt to regulate a wetland in northwestern Minnesota and is very important to the issue of continued federal encroachment under the Clean Water Act.
In this case, Hawkes Company wanted to mine peat from the wetland. The Army Corps then declared the wetland to be within the “waters of the United States,” meaning that Hawkes could not mine the peat unless and until it received a permit approved by the federal government. Hawkes sued, but the Army Corps claimed that Hawkes had no standing to sue unless and until the Army Corps decided to either fine the company for illegal mining, or until Hawkes obtained an expensive and time-consuming permit (that the Corps said it would deny). The States are asking the Supreme Court to allow the Hawkes to challenge the Army Corps determination, without first seeking an expensive permit or being fined by the Corps.
This case is being handled by Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin and Deputy Solicitor General Daniel Lennington.
Attached is the final filed version of the amicus brief Wisconsin joined, written by West Virginia and Ohio.