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Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) ("SWANCC")
Stack of case law books on  a shelve at the Patrick Henry Library.
United States Supreme Court Justice William RehnquistIn SWANCC, a consortium of municipalities challenged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ assertion of jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA) over an abandoned sand and gravel pit that the municipalities wanted to fill in connection with a landfill in the Chicago area. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment for the Corps, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision.

On appeal before the Supreme Court, the Court held that the Corps exceeded its statutory authority under the CWA by regulating non-navigable, isolated, intrastate waters based solely on their use as habitat by migratory birds. The Court concluded that while the CWA’s term “navigable waters” may have limited effect, it does not have “no effect.”


Last Updated: September 2014