Supreme Court guts protections for wetlands  

May 26, 2023

The Supreme Court has curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to protect wetlands, siding with Chantell and Michael Sackett in their long-running legal battle to build their dream home near the shore of an Idaho lake. The anti-conservation Pacific Legal Foundation represented the couple.

Experts in environmental law say the decision will sharply limit the EPA’s authority to protect millions of acres of wetlands under the Clean Water Act, leaving them subject to pollution without penalty.

Kevin Minoli, who worked as a senior EPA lawyer from the Clinton through the Trump administrations overseeing the enforcement of Clean Water Act regulations, said the decision will have enormous practical consequences and estimated that it will affect more than half the nation’s wetlands.

“If you’re in an area with a lot of wetlands but those wetlands are not directly connected to a continuously flowing water body, then those wetlands are no longer protected by the Clean Water Act,” he told the New York Times.

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Quote of the day

”There, the majority’s non-textualism barred the EPA from addressing climate change by curbing power plant emissions in the most effective way. Here, that method prevents the EPA from keeping our country’s waters clean by regulating adjacent wetlands. The vice in both instances is the same: the court’s appointment of itself as the national decision maker on environmental policy.

Justice Elena Kagan, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision in June to curtail the E.P.A.’s ability to restrict power plant emissions and yesterday’s decision that stripped Clean Water Act protections from many wetlands

Picture this

canoers in a river

Take the break and spend some time in nature. You’re important. The outdoors and public lands are waiting for you. #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

(featured image: Wetlands in the Green River floodplain in Utah, Utah Geological Survey)