Michael and Chantelle Sackett have fought a long legal battle outside the Supreme Court in 2011 to build a home on wetlands near one of Idaho’s largest lakes.Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

Fight Disinformation: Sign up for free Mother Jones Deli Newsletter and follow the news that matters.

This story was originally published by Guardian and is reproduced here as part of climate desk Cooperation.

scope of a historic law America’s Waterways Have Been Shortened to Save US Supreme CourtThat sided with an Idaho couple who have fought a long legal battle to build a home on wetlands near one of the state’s largest lakes.

one in ruled on ThursdayThe conservative-dominated court ruled that the federal government was wrong to use the Clean Water Act, a key piece of 50-year-old legislation aimed at preventing pollution in rivers, streams and lakes, to stop dueling construction on adjacent wetlands Priest Lake in Idaho.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that the decision overturns the legal framework used for decades to combat water pollution and that his administration “will use every legal authority to protect our nation’s waters.”

“It puts our nation’s wetlands—and their associated rivers, streams, lakes and ponds—at risk of pollution and destruction, endangering the sources of clean water on which millions of American families, farmers and businesses depend,” Biden said. trust.” ruling.

EarthJustice, an environmental group opposed to the matter reaching the Supreme Court, has said that half of all wetlands in the contiguous US, prized ecosystems as habitat for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife, as well as water are important natural purifiers, now lose their protection under the Clean Water Act.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for himself; Chief Justice John Roberts; and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett; ruled that the Clean Water Act could only protect “wetlands with continuous surface connections to bodies that are waters of the United States in their own rights.”

The ruling is the latest blow to environmental rules settled by the Supreme Court last year deduction Government’s ability to limit greenhouse gas pollution from power plants. Environmental groups have accused the court, along with Republican-led states and industry interests, of threatening foundational protections for nature in America.

The justice’s decision in effect changes the definition of whether wetlands are considered “navigable waters” under the act and are therefore federally protected. This criticism was echoed by one of the more liberal Supreme Court justices, Elena Kagan, who wrote in opposition to the decision that the majority of the court had appointed themselves “as national decision makers on environmental policy”.

One of the conservative justices, Brett Kavanaugh, sided with three liberals in warning that the court would “not rule out certain adjacent wetlands long regulated by the Clean Water Act, critical to water quality and flood control throughout the United States.” With the results.

Conservation groups expressed dismay at the ruling. “Federal protections that do not depend on local politics or regional pollutant influence are essential for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities across the country,” said Jim Murphy, director of legal advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation. “The Court’s decision removes these critical protections from important streams and wetlands in every state. We call on both Congress and state governments to step up, bridge the gap, and protect our threatened waters and the people who depend on them.” Protect

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *