Miller Touts Supreme Court Ruling Against Biden WOTUS Rules

By Benjamin Cox on May 25, 2023 at 5:51pm

15th District Congresswoman Mary Miller and several members of the agriculture community are celebrating a recent ruling of the Supreme Court.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with an Idaho couple over the EPA. The couple was attempting to develop a small lot near Priest Lake but was threatened with citations and told to restore the property under rules contained in the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States rules. The EPA claimed the Sacketts were in violation of the Clean Waters Act and WOTUS rule, saying the home would be a pollutant to the lake.

AgWeb Farm Journal reports both a lower court and a federal Appellate Court ruled in favor of the EPA prior to the case being sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court was unanimous in finding that the land owned by the Idaho family was not subject to the Clean Water Act. The court was split 5-4 on the court’s new test of the rules, which said that only wetlands with a continuous surface connection to a body of water are covered by the law.

Court Justice Samuel Alito, joined by four conservative justices, wrote the opinion stating that the federal government could regulate water that has a “continuous surface connection” to major bodies of water. Alito went further by saying that the EPA’s interpretations of its powers went “too far.”

Conservative Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote separately to object to the majority’s reading of the law. He wrote that the majority’s new test “departs from the statutory text, from 45 years of consistent agency practice, and from this Court’s precedents” and will have “significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States.” Kavanaugh’s opinion was joined by the court’s liberal justices.

The ruling trims the jurisdiction of the EPA and returns it to the original interpretation of the Clean Waters Act written in 1972. It will also send the Biden Administration back to the drawing board as far as writing the rules for Waters of the United States.

15th District Congresswoman Mary Miller called it a big win for farmers all across the country: “I am thrilled by the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Biden’s unconstitutional WOTUS power grab, which delivers a huge victory for Illinois farmers,” said Congresswoman Miller. “This decision sends a powerful message, expressing that President Biden’s EPA will not be allowed to pursue an anti-farm agenda. Thank you to my fellow Illinois farmers, who work tirelessly to feed our nation and contribute to our economy. This victory is a testament to their resilience and unwavering dedication. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I will continue to fight alongside them, advocating for policies that support and empower our agricultural community.”

Environmentalists and the EPA all announced disappointment in the ruling. Environmental groups were particularly critical, saying the ruling now opens up once protected wetlands to the possibility of pollution and to potential developers.