Missoulian: Guest View with Wendy Weaver: Court muddies waters with ruling

Jun 5, 2024 | News Release

In May, the Supreme Court voted to obliterate one of the most important rules that helps keep our aquatic ecosystems clean and thriving. Montana needs to step up and show leadership to fill that gap.

The decision in that case, called Sackett vs. EPA, is weedy but important. The court ruled that wetlands that don’t have a direct surface connection to larger bodies of water aren’t subject to Clean Water Act regulation. That creates a sort of free-for-all on ecosystems that enhance the health and resilience of some of Montana’s most precious resources: our rivers.


I’ve watched the battle over these regulations — called Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS for short — play out for years. It felt a bit like watching a game of political ping pong. One administration strengthens the law, the next weakens it. With this latest decision, the highest court in the country smashed the ball back to the other side. But the match isn’t over yet. There’s a long battle ahead.


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