Supreme Court Ruling Limits Reach of Environmental Protection Agency
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.
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the RightSupreme Court scales back federal authority to regulate under Clean Water Act
The Supreme Court scaled back the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to regulate "waters of the United States" broadly under the Clean Water Act, a win for landowners and business groups that argued the agencies have been overregulating small bodies of water such as wetlands.
In a unanimous ruling, the court said the Clean Water Act's reference to “waters” that can be regulated are limited to “geographic[al] features that are described in ordinary parlance as ‘streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes’" and to "adjacent wetlands...
From the CenterU.S. Supreme Court rules against EPA in wetlands regulation challenge
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday put another dent in the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency, ruling in favor of an Idaho couple in their long-running bid to build a home on property that the EPA had deemed a protected wetland under a landmark federal anti-pollution law.
The justices in a 9-0 decision overturned a lower court's ruling against the couple, Chantell and Mike Sackett, that had upheld the EPA's determination that their property near a lake contained wetlands protected by the Clean Water Act of 1972. Though...
From the LeftSupreme Court Limits E.P.A.’s Power to Address Water Pollution
The Supreme Court on Thursday curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to police water pollution, ruling that the Clean Water Act does not allow the agency to regulate discharges into some wetlands near bodies of water.
The court held that 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...
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