A ruling by the United States Supreme Court gives a boost to those fighting the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule.
Congressman Adrian Smith applauds the unanimous Supreme Court ruling that landowners can take the EPA to court over whether portions of their property can be declared protected wetlands.
“The ruling from the Supreme Court, especially a unanimous ruling, I think is huge,” Congressman Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I think it will give a lift to those of us who are concerned about private property rights, certainly the impact of regulations on agriculture.”
The ruling only gives landowners their day in court. It doesn’t overturn Waters of the US. Separate litigation takes direct aim at its constitutionality.
In the ruling, the Supreme Court gave Hawkes, a Minnesota firm, the authority to go directly to court to challenge an EPA action that declared portions of its land to be protected wetlands. The designation by the EPA kept Hawkes from mining peat bog. Prior to the ruling, Hawkes could have applied for a federal permit, which could take years or it could have moved forward with its plans, been fined by the EPA, which then would have triggered a lawsuit.
The ruling could be seen as procedural and while it doesn’t come close to overturning WOTUS, Smith says it makes him optimistic the rule could be overturned.
“Meanwhile, I think it’s an instruction to Congress too, that we can’t pass vague legislation that empowers agencies to basically roll over the American people,” Smith says.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]