The Supreme Court on Thursday significantly shrank the reach of federal clean water protections, dealing a major blow to President Joe Biden’s efforts to restore protections to millions of acres of wetlands and delivering a victory to multiple powerful industries.
The ruling from the court’s conservative majority vastly narrowing the federal government’s authority over marshes and bogs is a win for industries such as homebuilding and oil and gas, which must seek Clean Water Act permits to damage federally protected wetlands. Those industries have fought for decades to limit the law’s reach.
The Biden administration this year finalized a rule to cement broad protections for wetlands, which trap pollution, provide wildlife habitat, and act as sponges that soak up flood waters. That regulation must now be reworked in light of the Supreme Court ruling.