WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A new decision from the Supreme Court could have major implications for the country’s waterways.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency can no longer regulate pollution in certain wetlands.
Environmentalists across the country are up in arms.
Jim Murphy, director of legal advocacy at the National Wildlife Federation, said the decision will impact millions of Americans.
“Wetlands are very, very important in protecting people’s drinking water,” Murphy said. “They’re the kidneys of our water system. They’re the sponges of our water system. There’s no better natural system to protect you from flooding.”
Even conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged this while joining the three liberal justices in dissent.
But the 5-4 decision said only wetlands with a surface connection to a larger body of water are subject to the Clean Water Act.
“Great day for rural America, a great day for agriculture,” said Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kan.
Mann called the regulation unnecessary and costly.
For the same reasons, House Republicans voted in March to overturn new water rules from the Biden administration.
“The federal government should not have prerogative over farm ponds, drainage ditches, very small bodies of water,” Mann said.
The Biden administration vowed to push back.
“President Biden will use every legal authority available to him to ensure Americans in every state have clear water,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“It’s really time for Congress to act,” Murphy said.