August 29, 2023 | Source: NPR | by James Doubek
The Environmental Protection Agency removed federal protections for a majority of the country’s wetlands on Tuesday to comply with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The EPA and Department of the Army announced a final rule amending the definition of protected “waters of the United States” in light of the decision in Sackett v. EPA in May, which narrowed the scope of the Clean Water Act and the agency’s power to regulate waterways and wetlands.
Developers and environmental groups have for decades argued about the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act in protecting waterways and wetlands.
“While I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Sackett case, EPA and Army have an obligation to apply this decision alongside our state co-regulators, Tribes, and partners,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.
A 2006 Supreme Court decision determined that wetlands would be protected if they had a “significant nexus” to major waterways. This year’s court decision undid that standard.