WASHINGTON - January 13 - A coalition of environmental and public health groups, including the Sierra Club, filed a friend-of-the-court brief today in support of the U.S. Government's position in two important Supreme Court cases. Both cases - Carabell v. United States and Rapanos v. United States - address whether the Clean Water Act protects tributaries that flow into larger water bodies and their adjacent wetlands and, if so, whether the Constitution gives Congress such authority. The Court is scheduled to hear the cases February 21.
David Bookbinder, Senior Attorney for the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:
"Thousands of waterways and the destruction of millions of acres of valuable wetlands are at stake in these two Supreme Court cases. A ruling against the government could remove all federal limits on pollution flowing into our waterways. The cases will determine what kind of contamination the Clean Water Act regulates - not just dredged or fill material discharges, but also whether sewage, sediment and toxic chemicals can be released into our waterways and neighboring wetlands.
"The outcome of these cases has such sweeping effects that interested parties ranging from hunter and angler advocacy groups to scientists to public interest groups are filing friend-of-the-court briefs siding with the federal government. All are urging the Supreme Court to keep our waters clean and healthy by maintaining the venerable protections offered by the Clean Water Act."