Headline RoundupMay 25th, 2023

Supreme Court Ruling Limits Reach of Environmental Protection Agency

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling curtailing the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Details: In 2007, an Idaho couple began construction on a new home in the Idaho panhandle. Shortly after breaking ground, the EPA determined the land fell under federal jurisdiction as part of the Clean Water Act and ordered the construction to pause. The couple sued the EPA, arguing the land, which an appeals court labeled a “soggy residential lot,” did not classify as a wetland and was not federally protected. The dispute stems from vague language in the Clean Water Act, which Justice Samuel Alito labeled “notoriously unclear” in 2012. This ruling determined the Clean Water Act covered wetlands only if they contain a “continuous surface connection” to the federally protected body of water. 

Key Quotes: The court’s ruling states that the waters covered in the Clean Water Act are limited to “geographic[al] features that are described in ordinary parlance as ‘streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes’” and “adjacent wetlands that are 'indistinguishable' from those bodies of water due to a continuous surface connection.” While the ruling was unanimous, concurring opinions explained differing reasoning for the ruling, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh warning that the ruling would “leave some long-regulated adjacent wetlands no longer covered by the Clean Water Act, with significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States.”

How The Media Covered It: Left-rated outlets covered the ruling more prominently and frequently.

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