- Aug 21, 2003
Supreme Court weakens EPA power to enforce Clean Water Act
The Supreme Court on Thursday cut back the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the nation’s wetlands and waterways, another setback for the agency’s authority to combat pollution.
At issue was the reach of the landmark, 51-year-old Clean Water Act and how courts should determine what count as “waters of the United States” under protection of the law. Nearly two decades ago, the court ruled that wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act if they have a “significant nexus” to regulated waters. Property rights and business groups wanted to narrow regulations to wetlands and other areas directly connected to “navigable waters” such as rivers and lakes.
But Justice Samuel A. Alito, writing for the majority in the 5 to 4 opinion, said the EPA’s interpretation of its powers went too far
“We hold that the CWA extends to only those wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies that are ‘waters of the United States’ in their own right, so that they are ‘indistinguishable’ from those waters,” Alito wrote, quoting from past court opinions.
Utterly preposterous and totally ignores black letter law but what else can you expect from Alito and these other assholes.
When even Kavanaugh is like "WTF?" the line is pretty far behind you. It is hard to overstate the extent to which SCOTUS has essentially taken over the role of Congress and is effectively ruling the country.
Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote separately to object to the majority’s reading of the law. He wrote that the majority’s new test “departs from the statutory text, from 45 years of consistent agency practice, and from this Court’s precedents” and will have “significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States.” Kagan, Sotomayor and Jackson joined Kavanaugh.