In January 2022, the United States Supreme Court accepted Cert. in Sackett, et ux., v. United States EPA.
Expect a hearing this spring and decision in the fall.
It could be a major change in how the Clean Water Act is interpreted with respect to wetland and ephemeral stream conservation.
The Supreme Court Has Granted a Petition for Certiorari in a case brought by the Sacketts - an Idaho couple who have been trying to fill a wetland without a basic permit. The cost of the permit, a few hundred bucks. The cost of their litigation, a few million. Thank goodness they planned ahead when looking for farmland!
As the Sackett Petition notes, the couple and their activist attorneys hope to reverse decades of protection for wetlands (marshes, bayous, swamps, fens, bogs, muskegs, etc.) that provide habitat and clean water for migratory waterfowl and thousands of water-dependent species (including human beings).
Fortunately the federal Supreme Court has a majority comprised of wetland scientists - that should make it easy to assess and reverse whatever-the-heck United States EPA is up to!
On Jan. 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis,” instructing agencies to review agency actions during the prior administration.
EPA subsequently instructed DOJ to seek stays or abeyances in ongoing litigation.
These actions allow closer scrutiny & probably repeal & replacement of the June 2020 rule.
BUT ... See Sackett ...
On August 30, 2021, a Federal District Court in Arizona found that the Trump-era rule violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act, and issued an order vacating its application nationwide.
There is a link to a recent Washington Post article regarding the decision below.
Wetlands are significant "carbon sinks" that sequester carbon in plant material, especially deep root systems.
Protecting Freshwater Wetlands is a Key to Fighting Climate Change.
Follow the work of White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, and let her know that Wetland protection is part of the solution.