Rolling Back The Power Of The EPA And What It Might Mean For Gun Owners

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 4 weeks ago

Daily Caller.

The Supreme Court rolled back the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in a unanimous decision Thursday.

Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, brought by a couple prevented by the EPA from building a home on their own land near Priest Lake, Idaho because it contained wetlands, considered the scope of the agency’s “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, which defines what “navigable waters” can be regulated under the CWA. Plaintiffs Chantell and Mike Sackett, who have spent 15 years fighting the agency’s rule in court, allege the EPA has overstepped the authority it was granted when Congress enacted the CWA in 1972—forcing them to stop construction on their land or face fines.

The Supreme Court sided with the Sacketts, determining their land is not covered under the text of the CWA, which gives the EPA authority to regulate “navigable waters.”

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barett, that the EPA’s interpretation “provides little notice to landowners of their obligations under the CWA.” The Court held that the CWA applies to only wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States,” maintaining a “continuous surface connection.”

EPA restrictions on wetlands is similar to civil asset forfeiture.  It amounts to thievery.  It’s wrong and everybody knows it.

The opinion was “unanimous,” but the picture isn’t so rosy as you might suspect.

Though justices were united in their judgement, they maintained disagreements on definitions. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in an opinion concurring in judgement that was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson, thought the majority went too far in its test for which wetlands are included.

“By narrowing the Act’s coverage of wetlands to only adjoining wetlands, the Court’s new test will leave some long-regulated adjacent wetlands no longer covered by the Clean Water Act, with significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States,” he wrote.

Kagan similarly said in an opinion joined by Sotomayor and Jackson that the majority has appointed itself as “the national decision-maker on environmental policy” by choosing a test that “prevents the EPA from keeping our country’s waters clean by regulating adjacent wetlands.”

“The eight administrations since 1977 have maintained dramatically different views of how to regulate the environment, including under the Clean Water Act,” she wrote, noting some “promulgated very broad interpretations of adjacent wetlands.”

“Yet all of those eight different administrations have recognized as a matter of law that the Clean Water Act’s coverage of adjacent wetlands means more than adjoining wetlands and also includes wetlands separated from covered waters by man-made dikes or barriers, natural river berms, beach dunes, or the like,” she wrote. “That consistency in interpretation is strong confirmation of the ordinary meaning of adjacent wetlands.”

So the other “justices” sided with the sensible ones, but they want all but the most obvious examples to be decided by the FedGov, with property owned by the same.

Thus, the Leviathan only got his hand slapped rather than smitten into ruin on the rocks like he should have been.

Interestingly, Mark Smith sees this as very important for gun owners.  See how this decision applies to the ATF and why lawyers will be citing it in the coming months.


Comments

  1. On May 29, 2023 at 12:17 am, Dan said:

    You don’t actually believe the EPA… or any other Fed Gov agency actually obeys court rulings they don’t agree with. Court rulings are enforced by the Executive Branch. All those Fed agencies are part of the Executive Branch. There is NO legal mechanism in existence to force an agency to obey a court ruling if it chooses not to. The ONLY thing that can be done is for Congress to defund the agency effectively shutting it down. And that is NEVER going to happen.

  2. On May 29, 2023 at 8:53 am, PGF said:

    This “navigable waterways” rule was enacted under Obama and is part of Agenda 2030 to nationalize all resources under communist centralized global control making all persons wards of the state by cutting off humans from the natural resources they need to be self sufficient. Communists hate the self sufficient and want every human under total control living in pods and eating bugs. This is all part of the plan. The SCOTUS ruling is but a minor speed bump in the global plan and will be very soon violated or completely bypassed. The Left is serious, the right are ignorant fools playing by the old rule book that’s been ripped to shreds and burned.

  3. On May 29, 2023 at 1:09 pm, scott s. said:

    Its effect can reach back to the Weeks Act of 1911 which used the theory of navigable waters to authorize the US to purchase land in the East as ‘National Forests”. Prior to the that act “National Forests” were only lands which the Federal Gov’t already owned, mostly in the west via the Forest Reserve Act of 1891.

  4. On May 30, 2023 at 5:57 am, Elmo said:

    I tried to follow this case from the very beginning. I’m not sure that the Sackett’s property actually contained wetlands. The Waters of the United States act (WOTUS) treats properties that ‘could’ contain wetlands the same as actual wetlands.
    At one time there was a map online that showed the continental U.S. and the properties affected by WOTUS’ definition of possible wetlands. Our family ranch, with two permanent creeks, both of which are irrigation district runoff, and three springs, was almost entirely covered by what the EPA would consider under their control. Which technically means that we couldn’t do anything on our place, which has been in the family since 1854, without permits from both the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.

    The Left likes to make it sound like WOTUS and the EPA are protecting water quality, when in reality it means nothing but complete control over private property. Which suits the Left just fine, as they hate private ownership of land. The fact that our place is a working cattle ranch makes it a twofer for both the enviros and the EPA that they cherish so much.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Politics,Second Amendment and was published May 28th, 2023 by Herschel Smith.

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