Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. United States Forest Service presents a troubling development for environmental plaintiffs seeking injunctive relief for procedural violations of the Endangered Species Act. The panel majority overturned a thirty-year-old presumption of irreparable harm, in a move that undermines the precautionary purpose of the Endangered Species Act.
This Note provides a broad overview of section 404 of the Clean Water Act and the implications of its implementation regarding what constitutes “waters of the United States.” This Note focuses on the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to clarify the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act through the Clean Water Rule. This Note then examines the Corps’s role in implementing section 404 of the Clean Water Act through the jurisdictional determination process.
Through the doctrine of constitutional standing, federal courts have consistently attempted to limit their jurisdiction to claims in which they can redress the plaintiff’s injury. This determination becomes more complicated when a third party asserts that it would “replace” the defendant’s role and cause the same injury to the plaintiff that the defendant would have caused.
After over a decade of controversy and litigation, the Ninth Circuit finally shielded the Tongass National Forest from road construction and timber harvest. In Organized Village of Kake v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, the court’s en banc panel struck down the Forest Service’s decision to exempt the Tongass from the extensive protections granted to all other national forests via the Roadless Rule.