The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate wetlands, a major victory for developers and landowners who have long sought to reduce the agency’s reach.
The 6-3 ruling came in a case involving an Idaho couple who wanted to build a home on property that the EPA had deemed a wetland. The court held that the EPA’s definition of “waters of the United States” is too broad and that the agency must show that a particular body of water has a significant connection to interstate commerce in order to regulate it.
The ruling is a major setback for the EPA, which has used its authority to regulate wetlands to protect them from pollution and development. The agency is now likely to have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a narrower definition of wetlands.