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President Bush, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) reiterated the Administration's commitment to the goal of "no net loss" of wetlands in the U.S.
EPA and the Corps announced that they would not issue a new rule on federal regulatory jurisdiction over isolated wetlands.
"Across the Federal Government, the Bush Administration has reaffirmed and bolstered protections for wetlands, which are vital for water quality, the health of our streams and wildlife habitat," said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. Assistant Secretary of the Army John Paul Woodley Jr. added, "We will continue our efforts to ensure that the Corps' regulatory program is as effective, efficient and responsive as it can be."
The Supreme Court's 2001 decision in the case of Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (commonly referred to as to "SWANCC") overturned the Corps' assertion of federal jurisdiction over certain isolated wetlands based on the presence of migratory birds. EPA and the Corps responded by issuing revised guidance to their field offices. At the same time, the Agencies reaffirmed federal jurisdiction over the majority of wetlands not impacted by the decision.
After soliciting public comment to determine if further regulatory clarification was needed, the EPA and the Corps have decided to preserve the federal government's authority to protect our wetlands. The agencies will continue to monitor implementation of this important program to ensure its effectiveness.