Supreme Court limits federal government’s ability to regulate pollution in certain wetlands
A U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday will limit the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate wetlands, and Maine advocates say it removes an environmental safety net.
The case involves an Idaho couple that filled wetlands to build a home, and argued that the EPA was overreaching to regulate the wetlands under the Clean Water Act. In this ruling, the court agreed, saying the Clean Water Act only applies to wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies of waters known as "waters of the United States."
Anya Fetcher of the Natural Resources Council of Maine says she is disappointed in this ruling. But she says that the State of Maine still has strong wetlands regulations.
"Because of these protections that we have in place, that's going to hopefully keep Maine waterways relatively protected," Fetcher says. "But it does mean that there is no longer the safety net of having these federal protections."
Fetcher says the Clean Water Act, a passion of late Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, has served the nation well for 50 years.