HELENA, Mont. (May 25, 2023) – The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) shares its excitement and relief as the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision to the most recent Waters of the United States (WOTUS) case. Earlier today, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous 9-0 holding and ruled in favor of the Sacketts, finding their wetlands are not federally jurisdictional. Sackett v. EPA. is the Court’s fourth consideration of which waters are federally jurisdictional as WOTUS.
“Today’s opinion is a landmark decision for ranchers as the decision establishes the reach of the Clean Water Act. MSGA has been an active opponent of this type of regulatory overreach and today’s holding is a significant victory. Not only does this opinion reject the significant nexus, which the 2023 Biden WOTUS definition is based on, it also will require the entire rule to be pulled back and extensive revisions will need to occur.”stated John Grande, MSGA President.
The Sacketts, owners of an excavation company in the Idaho Panhandle, sought to build a home on property along Priest Lake. To prepare the lot for construction, the Sacketts began to fill it with gravel. In 2007, EPA officials intervened and demanded they stop construction after determining that the Sacketts’ lot contained a federally protected wetland. Under the authority granted to it by the Clean Water Act, the agency ordered the couple to remove the gravel and cease any further construction. The Sacketts sued in 2008, and the case began its journey through the federal court system for the next 15 years, ending at the Supreme Court. Their attorneys argued that the wetland the Sacketts filled is not, jurisdictionally, a “water of the United States,” and thus not subject to EPA regulation.
The Montana Stockgrowers Association is a grassroots membership organization and is the trusted voice of cattle ranchers. With over 135 years of history, MSGA advocates and ensures cattle ranching remains relevant, safe and a sustainable way of life for generations to come.
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