The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to review a Clean Water Act case from California's Central Valley. The case involves the federal government's ability to regulate agricultural activity in wetlands. Last year, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled 2-1 in Borden Ranch Partnership v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that federal regulators could protect wetlands from the practice of "deep ripping." The court upheld a lower court's ruling that Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos violated the Clean Water Act when he dragged four- to seven-foot-long metal prongs through wetlands areas in preparation for planting vineyards and orchards on property straddling the Sacramento-San Joaquin county border (see CP&DR Legal Digest, October 2001). The split court ruled that redepositing soil in swales could constitute adding a pollutant to protected wetlands areas. The court ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers had the ability under the Clean Water Act to prevent Tsakopoulos from converting wetlands to dry lands suitable for farming. Citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Solid Waste Agency of N. Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs, 531 U.S. 159 (2001), the Ninth Circuit further ruled that the Corps of Engineers could not prohibit Tsakopoulos from deep ripping in vernal pools — only in wetlands swales. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments during its next term, likely in November or December. The case is Borden Ranch v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 01-1243.