This is a big one. Miami Waterkeeper and the greater Waterkeeper Alliance are watching with concern as the Supreme Court Case, Sackett vs. EPA, reaches its conclusion. The case concerns how the geographic extent of the Clean Water Act is interpreted and what lands fall within the Environmental Protection Agency’s wetland regulatory jurisdiction. We can't stress how signficant this case is.
In 2008, Chantall and Michael Sackett sued the EPA because they thought that the regulatory agency did not have jurisdiction over wetlands on their property in Idaho. They had previously filled wetlands on their lot– without a permit– to get it ready for home construction. While the EPA found them in violation with the Clean Water Act, the Sacketts took the dispute through the federal court system for the past 14 years following the initial lawsuit.
If the Sacketts prevail, the decision will have far-reaching consequences over which and how many wetlands are regulated in all of the United States; this could mean that many thousands of acres of wetlands could lose federal protection, many of those in Florida.
The Waterkeeper Movement contends that wetlands, known as the kidneys of the landscape because they hold and cleanse water, deserve the utmost protection.
Miami Waterkeeper supported the Waterkeeper Aliance's amicus brief to the Supreme Court on this case. The Alliance's press release and copy of the brief are here. Oral arguments will be heard by the Supreme Court on October 3rd, 2022 with a decision likely in early 2023. For further reading, our Friends at the National Resources Defense Council have written an in-depth article on the Sackett case that we’re pleased to share.
Please stay tuned for more updates on this important case.