US Supreme Court Unfavors EPA in Wetlands Regulation Case

Recently, a case involving an Idaho family known as “the Sackett,” who challenged wastewater discharge regulations issued by EPA; was ruled in favor unanimously by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding jurisdictional matters related to “Waters of United States” (WOTUS). In other words – what qualifies as protected wetlands under Clean Water Act.

Image by Mark Thomas from Pixabay

Although there was agreement among all nine justices about overturning the lower court decision finding fault with EPA’s jurisdictional determination, there were some reservations about the broader implications of this by four justices. 

Three liberal judges and conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh questioned the wider consequence of a new “continuous surface connection” test established by Justice Samuel Alito and concern about possible negative impacts on water quality and flood control in America.

President Joe Biden expressed disappointment over the decision as it impedes decades of efforts to combat water pollution; promising to ensure maximum utilization of available legal mechanisms in protecting US waters aiming at minimizing potential harm posed by this ruling on wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds that people depend on for clean drinking water. 

Discussions around establishing a connection between properties and nearby waterways have been ongoing, leading to uncertainty on how to proceed with such cases. In 2006 Supreme Court ruling added further complications to existing debates over these matters.

Justice Elena Kagan has raised concerns over conservatively leaning justices deciding based on their policies when limiting EPA’s authority going against Congress's intentions set out by The Clean Water Act’s policy objectives regarding pollution issues.

Representing Sacketts in opposition to EPA -Damien Schiff- sees this as an achievement for asserting property rights underlining clarity about limitations set forth by The Clean Water Act's original concept interpreted after years-long discussions.

Nonetheless, lower court challenges have hindered enforcing new regulations issued by Biden’s administration expanding protection definitions against regulatory uncertainties established during Trump's presidency which could result in further difficulties.

Filing briefs in support of Sackett, Earthjustice's environmental advocacy group had been hoping for a more favorable decision as they asserted that decades of progress made through The Clean Water Act would be undone while nearly 90 million acres' protections for wetlands would disappear.

Keep visiting us for more updates. We love to break the news before anyone else!

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post