The Supreme Court on Thursday curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to police water pollution. They ruled that the Clean Water Act does not allow the agency to regulate discharges into some wetlands near bodies of water.
The court held that the law covers only wetlands “with a continuous surface connection” to those waters, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for five justices.
The decision was nominally unanimous, with all the justices agreeing that the homeowners who brought the case should not have been subject to the agency’s oversight. But there was sharp disagreement about the majority’s reasoning.
Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, joined by the three liberal justices in a concurring opinion, said the decision would harm the E.P.A.’s ability to combat pollution.
The opinion overturned a lower court decision that used a different standard, ruling that certain wetlands merit Clean Water Act protections because they had an ecologically “significant nexus” to other protected waters.
Under Barack Obama, the EPA changed the wording in a rule from “navigable waters” to “waters,” and “connected waters” became “waters.” It was a vast land and water power grab that harmed ranchers, manufacturers, and farmers. It allowed the government to control every aspect of their land and water usage.
The EPA had given itself the power to control all waters, even puddles, and ditches, on private property.
Trump’s Executive Order only allowed the EPA to regulate “navigable waters,” not all water.
This is important because the media portrays the Court as overturning the law. This was an overreaching rule under Obama that Trump canceled, and Biden brought back.
The left loves “rules” like this because it allows them to circumvent Congress and, in this case, the Supreme Court that had already ruled in this case.
The judgment overturned that case in favor of Idaho landowners Michael and Chantell Sackett, who had previously been prevented from building a home on land they owned because it contained wetlands – not navigable or connected.
The Sacketts have suffered through this for a very long time.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) February 28, 2017
Just in and huge…
SCOTUS trashes EPA on wetlands jurisdiction.
Held: EPA only has jurisdiction over wetlands obviously connected to waterways. Non-obvious underground connections don't confer jurisdiction.
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) May 25, 2023