Dear Mr. Hopper,
Your interpretation of Mr. Rapanos' constitutional rights in this particular case are to be applauded as is your law firm .... Obviously Mr. Rapanos was well outside the meaning of the wetlands law .... [Mr. Rapanos] has spent years of his life fighting a battle that should have never been an issue.
However, I ask you to consider two important points ....
The first is, your firm's website claims that "But if the Court reins in the federal government, inland waters will continue to be subject to vigorous protections imposed by states." and implies that all states have stringent wetlands laws. This is not true though ... "because only half (the States) have wetlands programs, explains Jon Kusler, president of the Association for State Wetland Managers." See article
... [My Second point is that] we would not and cannot exist without the environment that sustains us. Believe me when I say that many citizens and people in the world, know and fear this very point because if it happens, there is no tomorrow. This is a future no one wants to face.
Again, I hope the fight for freedom goes well and that the supreme court proves that Mr. Rapanos was being unfairly wronged, yet we do not give up valid points about the environmental cause that supports us all. Thanks again for your time.
Dear Concerned Citizen,
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. We are certainly in agreement on the points you make in your note.
As you know, this is not a case that requires us to choose between enforcing the rule-of-law OR to protect wetlands. Our position is that both the Constitution and the Clean Water Act provide that the primary responsibility for regulating local land and water use lies with the States. Our comment that "if the Court reins in the federal government, inland waters will continue to be subject to vigorous protections imposed by states" is based on the commonsense belief that no state will allow unregulated filling of wetlands once the court decides the federal government does not have that authority. It does not follow that a state that currently defers to the federal government to regulate wetlands will not assume that responsibility once the jurisdictional lines have been clarified in the Rapanos case. Of course, the Commonwealth of Michigan, where Mr. Rapanos' land is located, has a wetland protection program virtually identical to the federal program, otherwise the state could not have received authorization to administer the federal 404(a) program.
We are not anti-environment, nor do we believe in the unrestricted use of land. Rather, we endorse the principle stated by the U.S. Supreme court that "A strong public desire to improve the public condition [will not] warrant achieving the desire through a shorter cut than the Constitution" allows. "There are outer limits to how this may be done."