Supreme Court to Review Two Important Environmental Cases

In what court-watchers are calling an unusually in-depth review of environmental issues, the Supreme Court is set to hear two cases today with potentially nationwide implications for clean air and water regulations. The first is an appeal by oil companies and diesel manufacturers (supported by the Bush administration) who are challenging a Los Angeles-area requirement that diesel-fueled buses, trash trucks, and airport shuttles be replaced with cleaner-burning models. The second is a suit brought by the Florida Everglades-based Miccosukee tribe against a water-pumping station that for years has been piping polluted runoff from lawns and golf courses into the Everglades. At issue is this question: Is the pump a source of pollution, and thus subject to the restrictions of the Clean Water Act, or merely a neutral conveyor of pollution from one waterway to another? The tribe is supported by a network of Eastern states interested in strict water quality; the water district is supported by the Bush administration and a number of Western states interested in moving large amounts of water around cheaply.