A 9-0 Supreme Court ruling in favor of farmers and property owners will limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of certain wetlands.
The Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency case involved Idaho couple Michael and Chantell Sackett, who sought to build a home on a three-quarter-acre residential lot purchased in 2004. EPA argued that their lot contained “navigable waters” subject to federal control.
The Supreme Court disagreed on Thursday, ruling that the agency’s claimed power “falls far short of that standard.”
“The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in a concurring opinion.
“Any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year is in danger of being classified by EPA employees as wetlands covered by the Act, and according to the Federal Government, if property owners begin to construct a home on a lot that the agency thinks possesses the requisite wetness, the property owners are at the agency’s mercy.”
“This ruling is a hard-fought victory for farmers in Michigan and across the nation,” said MFB President Carl Bednarski, a Tuscola County farmer. "Michigan Farm Bureau and our members have worked tirelessly — through the rulemaking of three presidential administrations — to advocate for clear, consistent definitions of what waters are federally regulated. This decision proves the power of grassroots efforts, and we thank all those who have supported the rights of farmers and landowners through this process.”
For more details and coverage of the decision, please see the Michigan Farm News story.