In its Sackett v. EPA ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court handed a victory to congressional Republicans and others who believe the Biden administration’s revised Waters of the United States rule is overly broad, according to E&E News’ Greenwire (subscription).
What’s going on: By unanimous vote, “the court found that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers wrongfully claimed oversight of the wetland on the Sacketts’ property—located about 300 feet from Idaho’s Priest Lake—and that federal courts had erred in affirming the agencies’ jurisdiction.”
- “The ruling could complicate the Biden administration’s legal defense of its new definition of which wetlands and streams qualify as ‘waters of the U.S.,’ or WOTUS, subject to Clean Water Act permitting.”
- The Sacketts have been prohibited from building on their property for more than 15 years because of the wetlands designation and oversight claims.
Why it’s important: The decision—in which “[t]he court said the EPA can only assert jurisdiction over wetlands that have continuous surface connection to navigable waters, rejecting a more expansive view proposed by the EPA,” according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription)—will give much-needed regulatory certainty to manufacturers, which have been caught in limbo over the unclear and changing WOTUS definition.
The NAM says: The court’s ruling “put[s] us on a path to regulatory certainty for manufacturers across the country,” NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Brandon Farris said.
- “This case demonstrates yet again why manufacturers and our economy need a sensible Waters of the United States proposal that provides clarity and certainty and allows the industry to continue leading the way on environmental protection. The EPA should heed the court’s ruling and revise its latest WOTUS proposal.”