U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Favors Ag
9-0 Ruling Limits EPA’s Regulations
Throughout our 2022 Mini-Forum Meeting Series, the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council alerted and updated members on the impending U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) decision in the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case which would have jump started a slippery slope for increased water use regulation throughout the United States. We are pleased to report that on May 25, 2023 the USSC unanimously ruled in favor of the Ag industry and private property owners to limit the EPA’s regulation over certain wetlands.
The Sackett v. EPA case stemmed from the EPA’s position that an Idaho couple’s (Michael and Chantell Sackett) newly purchased ¾ acre lot for their future home contained “navigable waters” subject to federal oversight. The USSC’s ruling snapped back at the agency agreeing that the EPA overreached when they attempted to regulate the Sackett’s lot.
The majority opinion, penned by Justice Samuel Alito, highlighted that the Clean Water Act should only apply to wetlands that are directly next to waters connected to navigable waters. Tractor ruts in fields, puddles or ponds will not fall under “Waters of the United States (WOTUS)” rule.
While the ruling is good news for members of the Ag industry, it will force the Biden administration to rewrite of the WOTUS rule, which removed long standing exclusions for small and isolated water features on farms. The WOTUS rule regulates lakes, rivers, streams, and tributaries.
Michigan is one of a few states that have the authority to manage some areas of the Clean Water Act. The Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council will monitor the state of Michigan’s response to the ruling and continue to fight for reasonable water use rights, less Federal overreach, and further clarity from the EPA.
Executive Director, Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council.