The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) unanimously ruled to restrain the federal bureaucracy’s regulation of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act.
“Today is a big day for farmers, homebuilders, contractors, property owners and those who care about economic activity not being subject to overreach by the federal government,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said.
Critics believe this decision to be the beginnings of a compromise between the green agenda, and small-business, low-income Americans.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 “establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters.” In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used the legislation to justify litigation against private citizens in a number of cases.
While no one disagrees that American citizens should care for the environment, the heavy government regulation and federal overreach has sparked fierce debate.
The CWA ruling resulted in a 16-year conflict between the Sackett couple and the law after the Sacketts tried to build a home on their Idaho property which had adjacent wetlands.
The controversy centered around the idea of a “significant nexus” which places wetlands under the umbrella definition of WOTUS. In Rapanos v. United States in 2006 the high court had ruled that wetlands are protected by the CWA if they have a “significant nexus” to regulated waters. The Sackett’s property fell within that nexus.
Property rights groups have long wanted to narrow that rule to wetlands and other areas directly adjacent to “navigable waters” such as rivers and lakes.
In addition to heavy-handed wetland oversight, the EPA has also heavily regulated oil and gas usage, thereby making the cost of energy rise in American homes heavily affecting low-income families.
As CatholicVote previously noted, when it comes to environmental issues and the green energy agenda:
Americans should continue to improve energy efficiency and drive down the cost of reliable and clean energy sources through innovation and creativity. But this must not be done by regulatory fiat, policies with too-aggressive timetables, or through tax subsidies that only the wealthiest can access.