Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blamed the “MAGA Supreme Court” for a unanimous, 9-0 ruling that limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate bodies of water.
On Thursday, the nation’s highest court issued a ruling that narrowed the EPA’s wide definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). After the ruling, the EPA must now define WOTUS as a water source with a “continuous surface connection” to major bodies of water.
The decision amounted to a loss for the Biden Administration, which was attempting to regulate wetlands, lakes, ponds, streams and other “relatively permanent” waterways. The administration’s efforts were supported by a broad reading of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA), Fox News reported.
Thursday’s ruling was issued in favor of plaintiffs Michael and Chantell Sackett, two Idaho residents who were prevented from building their home near a waterway two years ago.
“The EPA ordered the Sacketts to restore the site, threatening penalties of over $40,000 per day,” Alito’s majority opinion stated. “The EPA classified the wetlands on the Sacketts’ lot as ‘waters of the United States’ because they were near a ditch that fed into a creek, which fed into Priest Lake, a navigable, intrastate lake. The Sacketts sued, alleging that their property was not ‘waters of the United States.'”
After getting news of the ruling, Senator Schumer took to Twitter to lambaste the “MAGA Supreme Court.”
“This MAGA Supreme Court is continuing to erode our country’s environmental laws,” Schumer tweeted. “Make no mistake – this ruling will mean more polluted water, and more destruction of wetlands.”
This MAGA Supreme Court is continuing to erode our country’s environmental laws.
Make no mistake—this ruling will mean more polluted water, and more destruction of wetlands.
We’ll keep fighting to protect our waters. https://t.co/wlp1LTvZJB
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 25, 2023
Schumer’s post was immediately slapped with a Community Note that explained how all nine justices agreed that the EPA overstepped its authority.
The court did split 5-4 in its analysis of how the federal government should define a water source under the Clean Water Act, however.
“Understanding the CWA to apply to wetlands that are distinguishable from otherwise covered ‘waters of the United States’ would substantially broaden [existing statute] to define ‘navigable waters’ as ‘waters of the United States and adjacent wetlands,'” Alito wrote.