Industry Associations Applaud Latest WOTUS Ruling

Industry Associations Applaud Latest WOTUS Ruling

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett vs. Environmental Protection Agency May 25, several industry associations applauded:

(NAHB) Alicia Huey, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a custom home builder and developer from Birmingham, Ala., issued the following statement after the Supreme Court handed down its unanimous verdict in the case of Sackett v. EPA:

“Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Sackett v. EPA that clearly redefines the scope of the Clean Water Act. The decision represents a victory against federal overreach and a win for common-sense regulations and housing affordability. The ruling will likely affect the Biden administration’s new definition of waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) that gave the federal government jurisdictional authority under the Clean Water Act over certain isolated wetlands, ephemeral streams or even human-made drainage features, like roadside ditches.

“The Biden WOTUS rule does little to strengthen our nation’s water resources but it does radically extend the areas in which home builders are required to get federal wetlands permits. Adding uncertainty and delay to the federal permitting process needlessly raises housing costs at a time when the nation is already facing a housing affordability crisis.

“With the Supreme Court verdict impacting the worst parts of the Biden WOTUS rule, it’s time for the administration to implement a new durable and practical definition of WOTUS that will truly protect our nation’s water resources without infringing on states’ rights and triggering additional expensive, time-consuming permitting and regulatory requirements.”


(ABC) Associated Builders and Contractors issued the following statement from Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck on the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 25 ruling narrowing the scope of “waters of the United States” in the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency case.

“By rejecting the ‘significant nexus’ test, the Supreme Court took a critical step toward eliminating the costly regulatory uncertainty that has plagued construction projects around the country for decades without providing meaningful environmental protections for America’s waterways.

“The Supreme Court also signaled that the Biden administration is on the wrong track in developing its WOTUS final rule, which is a significant step back in establishing unambiguous water quality protections that provide clarity for contractors. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers should withdraw their final rule and refrain from regulatory overreach that harms taxpayers and job creators and will delay delivering the infrastructure improvements that America needs to compete in the global market.”


(AGC) The Associated General Contractors of America’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Waters of the U.S.:

“The Supreme Court has provided much-needed clarity on what is, and is not, a Water of the U.S. This decision will return consistency and sanity to the permitting process. The decision will allow vital infrastructure and development projects to proceed in a timely manner while still providing strong protections for the actual waters of the U.S. The decision also validates the friend of the court brief we filed in this case and that the court ultimately supported. It also bolsters AGC’s ongoing legal challenges to the Biden administration’s related rule.

“The decision also makes clear that the Biden administration must rewrite its current Waters of the U.S. rule, which relies on the flawed “significant nexus” test that the Court roundly dismissed today. Attempting to redefine nearly every wet area in the U.S. as a federal water is clearly not legal.

“Moving forward, we will continue to challenge the Biden administration’s rule in court and welcome future opportunities to work with the administration to help craft a rule that continues to protect the waters of the U.S. without erecting unnecessary and unlawful barriers to economic activity.”


(NAM) The National Association of Manufacturers’ Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Brandon Farris released the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today will help put us on a path to regulatory certainty for manufacturers across the country as all the justices agreed that the EPA had overstepped its authority under the Clean Water Act. Manufacturers are committed to keeping our waters clean and demonstrating environmental stewardship, but Clean Water Act enforcement has been rife with ambiguities and inconsistencies, often allowing the EPA to overreach and attempt to regulate water—and even dry land—that is far beyond the scope of the law. This case demonstrates yet again why manufacturers and our economy need a sensible Waters of the United States proposal that provides clarity and certainty and allows the industry to continue leading the way on environmental protection. The EPA should heed the court’s ruling and revise its latest WOTUS proposal.”

Previously, the NAM submitted multiple sets of comments regarding the 2015 WOTUS rule to better inform policymakers. In addition, the NAM supported the 2017 executive order instructing the EPA to rescind the rule, and the NAM Legal Center had been in active litigation against the rule starting in 2015. The legal battle included a unanimous victory for the NAM at the U.S. Supreme Court on a key procedural issue, and in 2019, federal judges invalidated the rule.


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