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In a 9-0 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Sackett v. EPA that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had violated due process rights in an enforcement proceeding brought under the Clean Water Act. The Act prohibits “the discharge of any pollutant by any person” into a “navigable water” without a permit. Upon finding a violation, the EPA can issue a “compliance order” or file a civil enforcement action. The statute gives the EPA power to fine violators up to $35,700 per day. The EPA contends the amount doubles to $75,000 per day when the EPA prevails against a person who has been issued a compliance order but failed to comply.

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