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1 January 2004

Supreme Court Weighs Question of Discharge in Everglades

January 2004 - The Endangered Species & Wetlands Report noted the "Supreme Court heard oral arguments Jan 14 in a closely watched case involving a central question under the Clean Water Act: When must a discharge permit be required for addition of pollutants to navigable waters?"

The Washington Post noted the case could "affect state water supply and flood-control practices across the nation."

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP partner Timothy Bishop represented the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) whose pumping is at the center of the dispute. In his argument, Mr. Bishop stated "Our pumps do not add pollutants to navigable waters. There is no addition of pollution to navigable waters when navigable waters are simply moved around, which occurs all the time every day all around the country as public waters management agencies allocate and transfer the navigable waters to serve beneficial public purposes."

The Wetland Report noted "Bishop said a ruling against SFWMD would require the district and hundreds of water districts around the country to obtain discharge permits from the EPA."

"Assistant Solicitor General Jeffrey Minear, arguing for the federal government in support of SFWMD, said the cost to those water agencies 'could be very substantial for projects throughout the nation.'"

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