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The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 is the oldest federal environmental law in the United Statesmarker. The Act makes it a misdemeanor to discharge refuse matter of any kind into the navigable waters, or tributaries thereof, of the United States without a permit; this specific provision is known as the Refuse Act. The Rivers and Harbors Act also makes it a misdemeanor to excavate, fill, or alter the course, condition, or capacity of any port, harbor, channel, or other areas within the reach of the Act without a permit. Although many activities covered by the Rivers and Harbors Act are regulated under the Clean Water Act, the 1899 Act retains independent vitality. The Rivers and Harbors Act is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Congress passed an act of the same name in 1882, and overrode a veto by President Arthur.

References

  1. March 3, 1899, Ch. 425, Sec. 9, 30 Stat. 1151. .


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