Rulings Restrict Clean Water Act, Hampering E.P.A.

Says the headline on this NY Times article. The environmental costs of the Supreme Court’s rulings in SWANCC and Rapanos are becoming clear. The Times article reads:

The court rulings causing these problems focused on language in the Clean Water Act that limited it to “the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters” of the United States. For decades, “navigable waters” was broadly interpreted by regulators to include many large wetlands and streams that connected to major rivers.

But the two decisions suggested that waterways that are entirely within one state, creeks that sometimes go dry, and lakes unconnected to larger water systems may not be “navigable waters” and are therefore not covered by the act — even though pollution from such waterways can make its way into sources of drinking water.

Since there is little hope that the Court will resolve this jurisdiction problem, it’s time for Congress to pass the Clean Water Restoration Act, ASAP.

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