In a decision handed down on Thursday, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for the federal government to regulate water pollution by removing protections from wetlands that are isolated from larger bodies of water.
It is the second time in as many years that the court’s conservative majority has limited the scope of environmental regulations.
In a ruling in favor of an Idaho couple who wanted to build a home near Priest Lake in the state’s panhandle, the justices strengthened property rights over concerns about pure water.
They objected when federal officials designated a damp portion of their land as a wetland, requiring them to obtain a permit prior to construction.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court just ruled that Biden's overreaching WOTUS interpretation is unconstitutional.
This is a huge win for farmers across America.
I'm proud to have led in this fight by obtaining an injunction against @POTUS' unlawful land grab at the district court.
— Attorney General Andrew Bailey (@AGAndrewBailey) May 25, 2023
The court ruled by a 5-4 vote that wetlands can only be regulated if they have a “continuous surface connection” to larger bodies of water that are regulated.
The court rejected Anthony Kennedy’s 17-year-old opinion that permitted the regulation of wetland areas that have a “significant nexus” to larger waterways.
More than fifty percent of the nation’s wetland habitats would lose protection if the Clean Water Act’s protections were weakened, as predicted by environmentalists.