More Waters of the U.S. Controversy


On August 30, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued an opinion dismissing the Government’s lawsuit asserting that Thomas Lipar, a real estate developer, violated the Clean Water Act by discharging fill material into jurisdictional wetlands without a permit. According to Judge Hughes, the Government failed to establish that the wetlands in issue were jurisdictional waters.  In addition, Judge Hughes determined that EPA acted in bad faith, and throughout the 10 years these sites have been under investigation or in litigation, it has been “intractable, uncooperative and defiant”; indeed, its behavior has been “reprehensible”.  Consequently,  Judge Hughes has sanctioned the Government, requiring the United States to pay the defendant and the other defendant’s the reasonable attorney’s fees they incurred in defending this lawsuit.  The case is U.S. v. Lipar, et al.