Please Welcome The Environmental Law Institute To TreeHugger


With the US Congress getting more active in environmental matters than it has in decades, we've been looking for seasoned legal observers to provide insights and interpretations to our readers. We're proud to announce that the Environmental Law Institute will be joining us with a series of guest posts. You can get an idea of what ELI is all about by reading the Message from the President and Chairman, on their website.

Look below for information about ELI's new handbook which explains the law and science of Clean Water Act coverage.

(WASHINGTON DC) Last year's Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos v. United States left regulators, activists, and landowners nationwide scrambling to understand the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction over wetlands and streams. Unless and until Congress amends the law to clarify its intended coverage of the "waters of the United States," we are left to sort out the present law. There is now a comprehensive resource designed to shed light on the topic, the Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Handbook, just released by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI).

The ELI Handbook lays out the various tests for Clean Water Act coverage under current law. Additionally, the Handbook brings science to bear on the question of determining CWA coverage for certain categories of wetlands and streams, in a way that no other publication to date has attempted. The Handbook is a necessary and informative complement to the joint guidance document issued last month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to guide their respective field staff in making jurisdictional determinations in the wake of the Rapanos decision.

With the support of the Turner Foundation, and the assistance of numerous experts in wetlands science and law, ELI has analyzed the key case law, compiled the relevant scientific studies and literature, and provided a set of jurisdictional "checklists" to assist the legal layperson in determining whether a particular wetland or stream is covered. The Handbook is a must for anyone faced with understanding what information is needed to assess CWA jurisdiction .

For a free download of the Handbook, click here.