Home Menu ↓
Clicking on our sponsor links helps insure continued free access to this website.
Please support our efforts by visiting our sponsors:

 

Borden Ranch v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

Docket No.: 01-1243
Certiorari Granted: Jun 10 2002
Argued: December 10, 2002
Decided: December 16, 2002

Topics:

Federal Water Pollution Control (Clean Water), plus amendments, Economic Activity, Natural Resources, Clean Water, Clean Water Act, EPA, First Amendment, trademark

PartyNames: Petitioners v. United States Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental
Petitioner: Petitioners
Respondent: United States Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: CA 9, 261 F.3d 810. QUESTIONS PRESENTED The issue presented by this case is whether a farmer needs a federal permit to plowhis agriculturally-zoned ranchland to plant new crops. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to require permits only for thoseactivities that " discharge" or "add" a "pollutant" from a "point source" into waters of the United States, and further expressly exempts "normal farming and ranching activities, such as plowing" which do not convert the body of water "into a use to which it was not previously subject." Petitioners acquired the Borden Ranch, an8,400 acre property in California's Central Valley that is zoned for agricultural use,
Supreme Court Docket

Petitioners
v.
United States Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental
537 U.S. 99 (2002)
Question Presented:

1. Does a rancher's deep plowing to enhance the soil's agricultural viability "add" a "pollutant" to a wetland so as to constitute a regulated point-source "discharge"within the meaning of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act? 2. Is deep plowing of ranchland, which is used to grow forage crops and is farmable in its natural state, in order to plant cr ops with deeper root systems, statutorily exempt from regulation under Section 404 as a "normal farming activity" that doesnot bring a water of the United States "into a use to which it was not previously subject"? 3. Does the Clean Water Act's civil penalty section, authorizing penalties "not toexceed ยง25,000 per day for each violation," authorize assessing the maximum daily penalty for each time a plow crosses a ju risdictional drainage feature, withoutregard to the number of days when such activity occurred? CERT. GRANTED: 6/10/02 J. Kennedy took no part.

Question:

Does deep plowing ranchland to plant deep-rooted crops constitute the "addition" of a "pollutant" from a "point source" so as to fall within the regulation of the Clean Water Act? Is deep plowing ranchland which is farmable in its natural state to plant deep-rooted crops statutorily exempt from regulation under the Act's exemption for any discharge from "normal farming...activities such as plowing?" Does the Act's civil penalty section authorize assessing the maximum daily penalty for each time a plow crosses a seasonal drainage feature, without regard to the number of days when such activity occurred?

Borden Ranch v. United States Army Corps of Engineers
ORAL ARGUMENT

December 10, 2002

Holding: affirmed
Decision: Decision: 4 votes for United States Army Corps of Engineers, 4 vote(s) against
Database Connection failed: SQLSTATE[HY000] [1045] Access denied for user 'restauz8_sophi'@'localhost' (using password: YES)