Court rules against wetland-filling cranberry growers in MA

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 28, 2011 -- A federal jury this week ruled that the Clean Water Act applied to the filling of wetlands and other waters at two properties in Carver, Mass., owned by cranberry growers...

Apr 28th, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 28, 2011 -- A federal jury this week ruled that the Clean Water Act applied to the filling of wetlands and other waters at two properties in Carver, Mass., owned by cranberry growers.

Charles Johnson, Genelda Johnson, Francis Vaner Johnson, and Johnson Cranberries Limited Partnership filled and altered approximately 46.1 acres of wetlands and other waters in order to construct cranberry bogs and associated structures.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of dredged and fill material into waters of the United States, which include certain wetlands, without first obtaining a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 1999, the United States brought suit against the Johnsons at the request of the EPA and in 2004, the U.S. District Court ruled that the Johnsons had indeed filled the wetlands without a permit.

The Johnsons subsequently appealed, and under new standards set out by the Supreme Court's 2006 ruling in Rapanos v. United States, the case was given to a jury to decide whether the Clean Water Act applied to the wetlands and other waters at the Johnson properties.

This latest court decision upholds the government's assertion of jurisdiction.

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