Sold Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. US Army Corps of Engineers: Isolated Waters, Migratory Birds, Statutory and Constitutional Interpretation

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2003



The U.S. Supreme Court, through its statutory and constitutional interpretations, has revived federalism to curtail federal authority. In the Solid Waste case, the Court, relying primarily on the text of the Clean Water Act, determined that the federal government lacked jurisdiction over isolated waters that serve as migratory bird habitat. The Court's decision was inconsistent with text, intent, and purposes of the statute. The Court reinforced its statutory interpretation by declaring that the migratory bird rule probably exceeded federal commerce clause authority. The Court's speculation was dubious under the framework of United States v. Lopez. The Court's conclusions are not a positive sign for the future of environmental law.

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