Landowner appeals after losing WOTUS challenge

By Miranda Willson | 07/09/2024 01:35 PM EDT

Robert White’s bid to develop over wetlands in North Carolina could narrow the scope of the Clean Water Act.

Homes are visible under construction near wetlands.

Homes are visible under construction near wetlands in Oak Island, North Carolina, on Aug. 29, 2023. Robert White, a North Carolina landowner seeking to build over wetlands, is appealing his case. Karl B. DeBlaker/AP

A North Carolina landowner who lost his bid to stop enforcement of the Biden administration’s wetlands regulation is now appealing to a higher court.

Robert White, who has sought to build over wetlands in low-lying coastal North Carolina, is suing EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, challenging a key element of the definition of protected wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

Last month, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina shot down his request for a preliminary injunction and appeared skeptical of his broader legal argument. On Monday, White asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider his case, which could have broad ramifications for wetlands protections across the nation.


The lawsuit comes at a time of historically weak federal protections for wetlands following a Supreme Court decision last year.