United States v. Hallmark Constr. Co.
Citation: 28 ELR 21438
The court holds that the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) does not authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to seek penalties against a construction company for allegedly filling an isolated wetland without a § 404 permit. The court first holds that the Corps has no statutory authority under the FWPCA to seek civil penalties for permitless discharges. Although the Corps and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed that the Corps would be the lead enforcement agency with respect to permitless discharges, Congress did not delegate authority to the Corps to commence civil actions for permitless discharges. That authority was placed squarely in the hands of EPA, and only Congress may delegate enforcement authority to the Corps. Therefore, the court dismisses the government's complaint because the Corps circumvented the FWPCA by referring the case directly to the U.S. Attorney.
Counsel for Plaintiff
Chris Tracey, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
Everett M. Dirksen Bldg.
219 S. Dearborn St., 5th Fl., Chicago IL 60604
Counsel for Defendant
Brown Environmental Group
35 E. Wacker Dr., Ste. 1356, Chicago IL 60601