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Hawkes Co. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20183
Nos. 13-107, (D. Minn., 08/01/2013) (Montgomery, J.)

A district court dismissed a landowner's lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' jurisdictional determination for property that contains peat. The Corps issued its jurisdictional determination after the landowner sought permission to mine peat from the property for use in the construction of golf greens. A jurisdictional determination, however, is not a "final agency action" and, thus, not subject to immediate judicial review. Although it may mark the consummation of the Corps' decisionmaking process, it does not determine the landowner's rights or obligations. The landowner's options did not substantially change because of the jurisdictional determination. The property is undisputedly a wetland, and it has a potential connection to a navigable water. The jurisdictional determination did not change these physical characteristics. Nor did it affect the legal standards used by agencies and courts in determining where the CWA applies.