(Undated) -- Iowa political leaders and agricultural representatives are reacting after the unanimous US Supreme Court opinion (Sackett v EPA) today (Thursday) on a key environmental issue. The high court's opinion narrows the EPA's broad definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The court said the federal government must define WOTUS as a water source with a "continuous surface connection" to major bodies of water.
The decision halted an attempt by the Biden administration to regulate wetlands, lakes, ponds, streams and other "relatively permanent" waterways, based on the administration's reading of the EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act.
US Senator Joni Ernst:
“I’m glad to see the Supreme Court rightfully and unanimously blocked Biden’s ill-conceived Waters of the United States rule. The federal government has no authority to impose blanket jurisdiction over puddles, waters, and wetlands with vague, overreaching regulations on behalf of Biden’s ever-changing climate agenda,” said Senator Ernst. “This is a big WIN for Iowa, where nearly every industry is impacted by WOTUS, including 46,000 small businesses and countless farmers. I’ve long fought to put in place a permanent, clear, and commonsense WOTUS definition, and will continue working to bring much-needed certainty to Iowa’s job creators.”
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig:
“The Supreme Court’s decision is a step in the right direction, by finally addressing significant regulatory uncertainty that has lingered for far too long. The decision better defines the regulatory scope of the federal government as it relates to America's land and water. Curtailing this expensive and burdensome federal overreach gives Iowa farmers the confidence to continue using modern farming practices and will allow further acceleration of important conservation work across our state.”
Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird:
“I’m glad that the Supreme Court ruled to protect American farmers and landowners and to narrow the EPA’s overreaching definition of Waters of the United States. Today’s victory will help us challenge the EPA’s new, even broader attempt to overregulate America’s waters. President Biden’s new definition allows the federal government to regulate as much as 97% of Iowa land and forces Iowans to pay large fees for permission to use their own property. I hope the EPA learned its lesson in Sackett v. EPA because we’re going to keep the fight going in our WOTUS lawsuit against the Biden rule to protect Iowa’s farmers, landowners, homebuilders, and producers.”
Iowa Farm Bureau President Brent Johnson:
"The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) appreciates the U.S. Supreme Court‘s unanimous decision recognizing EPA has clearly overstepped its authority under the Clean Water Act in the Sackett vs EPA ruling. The Court’s respect for private property rights is appreciated by Iowa farmers, and Farm Bureau has called on the Biden administration to do the same and rewrite the WOTUS rule. Farmers are committed to the goal of protecting water quality and deserve a rule that provides clarity. It should not require a team of consultants and attorneys to farm and protect our natural resources."
Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock:
"All of agriculture has been waiting for this ruling on defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The Court stated that the wetland under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA) must have 'a continuous surface connection with that water,' making it difficult to determine where the water ends and the wetland begins. The decision finally restores common sense back into WOTUS regulation. Hopefully it lays to rest efforts by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to extend CWA jurisdiction well beyond Congressional intent. When EPA issued their WOTUS rule earlier this year, ARA remarked that the decision was premature with a Supreme Court ruling pending and would likely result in wasted effort. This prediction has now proven true. "The Court’s ruling today should provide the legal certainly necessary for ag retailers and their farmer customers. The EPA needs to expeditiously update the WOTUS regulation according to the clear ruling issued by the Supreme Court."
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Thursday's press briefing, the opinion "...will will jeopardize the sources of clean drinking water for farmers, businesses and millions of Americans." She added, "President Biden will use every legal authority available to him to ensure Americans in every state have clean water."