SCOTUS Unanimously Crush Biden Policy
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Constitution and the American people on Thursday, unanimously siding with three decades of U.S. jurisprudence and upending the Biden administration policy on federal regulation of bodies of water known as the "Waters of the U.S.” or “WOTUS.”
The case was brought by Michael and Chantell Sackett, a couple from Idaho who attempted to build a home near a wetland but were blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA threatened the Sacketts with a fine of more than $40,000 per day. The couple argued that their property was not a “water of the United States,” but the EPA said it was because it was near a ditch that fed into a creek, which fed into a navigable intrastate lake.
Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion stated that the federal government must limit its definition of downstream waterways to those with a “continuous surface connection” to major bodies of water. The Court split 5-4 on the question of how to go about defining water sources.
The EPA used its jurisdiction under the CWA to prevent the Sacketts from building a house by classifying their property as "wetlands"
The land had a ditch that drained into a creek which fed into priest lake. So therefore the EPA defined it as "wetlands" and threatened to to…
— Reddit Lies (@reddit_lies) May 25, 2023
Industry groups, Republican lawmakers, and 24 states opposed the regulation and sought to have it rescinded, leading to federal court action and Congressional attempts to reject the regulation. Following the ruling, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said, “Today, the Supreme Court sent a loud and clear warning shot to the Biden administration about its attempts to overregulate the lives of millions of Americans.”
Additionally, the Waters Advocacy Coalition - a group representing farmers – praised the Court’s decision for providing clarity for farmers and landowners in the U.S.
“After decades of attempts to expand the federal government’s power over private land, America’s job creators and farmers can proceed with more certainty in delivering critical services our economy depends on, from growing healthy foods to building affordable homes and producing domestic energy.”
The Supreme Court's decision was a major victory for individual freedom and a reminder of the importance of the American people's right to access clean and safe sources of water. It's unclear at this time how the EPA or the Biden administration will address the ruling.