The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that landowners can appeal to a federal court when the government subjects their property to wetlands regulations requiring additional permits.
The unanimous ruling determined that the Clean Water Act “imposes substantial criminal and civil penalties for discharging any pollutant into waters” covered by federal regulations without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The decision could weaken the Obama administration’s environmental agenda.
The Corps is in charge of assessing whether a landowner’s property contains “waters of the United States” or “navigable waters,” which are protected under the Clean Water Act. If officials decide that those waters fall under federal protections, the government will issue property owners jurisdiction determinations, which require individuals to obtain permits to use their own wetlands.