Here’s the thing to remember. We live in the United States of America. We are a nation of laws. We have a Constitution that gives Congress the authority to pass laws under enumerated powers. One of those powers is provided by the Constitution’s commerce clause. Congress passed the Clean Water Act. The Supreme Court has affirmed that, within commerce clause limits, the Clean Water Act is constitutional.
Under the Clean Water Act, within these jurisdictional limits, you cannot fill a wetland without a permit. If you do so, you are subject to enforcement. If you do so intentionally, you are subject to criminal enforcement.
These are facts. They are not arguable.
Agreed, there is significant uncertainty as to the jurisdictional limits. The Supreme Court has issued an almost impossibly complex test for jurisdiction that the lower federal courts are still figuring out. Still, if you have wetlands on your property, the prudent thing would be to make a phone call to the EPA or Corps of Engineers BEFORE firing up the bulldozer. Filling them first and asking questions later is at your own risk.
Ignorance is not an excuse. And it really shouldn’t be a rallying cry either.