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Updated Handbook Helps Navigate Post-Rapanos Clean Water Act

May 23, 2012

(Washington, DC) — In a year marking the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, federal courts across the country continue to struggle in determining jurisdiction and applying the fractured Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling in Rapanos v. United States, which has now been interpreted, applied, or cited in over 90 different cases arising in 35 states. Six years after the decision, the legal battle over federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction shows no signs of abating. This dynamic tension in the law created a need for a respected research source that could summarize all applicable law and legal developments in the area.

The Environmental Law Institute® (ELI) is pleased to release the second edition of its popular Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Handbook. According to ELI President John Cruden, “This newest version of the ELI CWA Handbook should be on the desk of every environmental practitioner in the nation. It is current, well-organized, and accurate. Because of the importance of the topic, and ELI’s commitment to legal research, we are providing this timely reference source free to environmental professionals.”

ELI’s Handbook is the premier resource of its kind, providing—

  • Clear &ldqup;checklists” of the legal tests that can be used to determine whether a water body is covered by the Clean Water Act;

  • An up-to-date, comprehensive summary of all post-Rapanos rulings from the federal courts, highlighting the types of waters at issue in each case and the kinds of evidence the court considered;

  • An overview of the ever-evolving science and tools that can be used to demonstrate how wetlands and streams are connected to downstream waters;

  • An introduction to guidance documents issued by U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and to the various Congressional proposals to amend the Clean Water Act in response to Rapanos; and

  • Detailed citations to key scientific and legal resources.

“The ELI Handbook is an essential toolbox for anyone needing to know whether a particular wetland or stream is covered or not,” said ELI Senior Attorney Bruce Myers.

“Our research also serves to document the ongoing confusion over the reach of the Clean Water Act,” Myers said. “We are paying the price for this every day in terms of delays and higher costs for government agencies and stakeholders, obstacles to enforcement of the water law, and—most importantly—the potential loss of protection for many of our nation?s waters.”