In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has sided with an Idaho family farm in an environmental case against the EPA. The ruling holds national implications for water quality, agriculture, development and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The case centered around the farm’s plan to develop a small lot near Priest Lake.
The court unanimously found that the family-owned land was not subject to the Clean Water Act. However, the court was split 5-4, that only wetlands with a continuous surface connection to a body of water are covered by the law. The ruling, led by four conservative justices, overturns a ruling previously made by the federal appeals court that supported the EPA. Ag groups and industry leaders call the ruling a victory for the industry and private property rights.
The future of WOTUS remains murky after the ruling, with the Biden administration likely needing to start from scratch to trim the jurisdiction and probably steer EPA back to the 1970s interpretations.
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