On May 31, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court held that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations by the Army Corps of Engineers are final agency actions that can be reviewed by federal courts. In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court declined to follow a 2014 decision from the Fifth Circuit which held that jurisdictional determinations are merely a notification of a property’s classification, and held that such determinations meet the criteria for final agency actions. Notably, the Court held that a jurisdictional determination “marks the consummation of the Corps’ decisionmaking on the question whether a particular property does or does not contain ‘waters of the United States’” and that the “definitive nature of approved JDs also gives rise to direct and appreciable legal consequences.”
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