E&E NEWS: Supreme Court erases protections for most wetlands

The Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling in a Clean Water Act case involving an Idaho couple’s property erases protections for the majority of the nation’s wetlands, while also throwing the Biden administration’s signature water policy into limbo.

The 5-4 decision in Sackett v. EPA — written by Justice Samuel Alito, heavily quoting the late Justice Antonin Scalia — finds that wetlands are only protected by the Clean Water Act if they have a continuous surface connection with a larger body of water that makes it “difficult to determine where the ‘water’ ends and the ‘wetland’ begins.’”

Courtney Briggs, chair of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, which represents small businesses, farmers and other industry members, called the move “historic” and “a victory for private property owners across the country.”

“The ruling preserves protections for our nation’s valuable water resources while delivering much-needed clarity to the process of determining federal jurisdiction over wetlands,” she added.

Read the full E&E News story…