Industry News

Supreme Court to weigh in on Wetlands rules

Experts discuss what decision could mean for real estate developers

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Federal regulation of wetlands could be limited significantly depending on the outcome of two wetlands cases the U.S. Supreme Court in October agreed to hear. But if the regulation powers are curtailed, it won't mean that developers won't have to worry anymore about getting permits to develop properties with wetlands. Some experts believe the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the cases so that it could limit the scope of current wetlands rules under the federal Clean Water Act. Others, however, believe the court took the cases only to provide further guidance in the face of conflicting lower-court decisions. Which side is correct is anybody's guess, given recent – and upcoming – changes in the court's makeup. The experts do agree, however, that even if the Supreme Court significantly curtails the federal government's authority to regulate wetlands under the Clean Water Act, developers will probably still need permits to develop property with wetlands. It'll only be a ma...