The EPA removes federal protections for most of the country’s wetlands

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed federal protections from most of the country’s wetlands due to a US Supreme Court ruling.

Adjusting policy: The EPA and the Department of the Army have adjusted the definition of protected “waters of the United States”, following the May decision in Sackett v. EPA, which reduced the power of the Clean Water Act, thereby reducing the EPA’s authority to manage waterways and wetlands.
* Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito stated that navigable US waters regulated by the EPA under the Clean Water Act do not include many previously regulated wetlands and are limited to water bodies such as streams, oceans, rivers, as well as lakes, and wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to these areas.

Diverse reactions: The adjusted regulation garnered mixed responses from various groups and parties.
* Environmental groups including American Rivers and the National Wildlife Federation criticize the new rule, emphasizing the necessity of wetlands for providing drinking water, preventing floods, and supporting wildlife habitats, and urging Congress to take action.
* Meanwhile, business entities such as the Waters Advocacy Coalition believe the rollback isn’t extensive enough and further compliance with Supreme Court precedents is needed.

Future implications: Moving forward, the responsibility for protections for many waterways and wetlands will shift to individual states due to this rule change.
* The EPA states the rule will be implemented immediately to ensure consistency and clarity.

View original article on NPR

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