NAHB applauds Supreme Court WOTUS decision

The ruling narrows the federal government's authority in regulating bodies of water.
The decision in Sacket v. EPA turns back a recent policy from the Biden administration.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said it commends today’s Supreme Court 9-0 ruling that rejects the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) broad definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

This case (Sackett v. EPA) originated with Michael and Chantell Sackett, two Idaho residents. The EPA prohibited the Sacketts from building a home near a wetland years ago, citing the Clean Waters Act (CWA) of 1972.

The ruling narrows the federal government's authority in regard to regulating bodies of water and overrules a recent Biden administration policy. 

Justice Samuel Alito delivered the court’s decision

"The EPA ordered the Sacketts to restore the site, threatening penalties of over $40,000 per day," Alito said in his majority opinion statement. "The EPA classified the wetlands on the Sacketts’ lot as 'waters of the United States' because they were near a ditch that fed into a creek, which fed into Priest Lake, a navigable, intrastate lake. The Sacketts sued, alleging that their property was not 'waters of the United States.'"

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

NAHB Chairman Alcia Huey
NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey.

“Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Sackett v. EPA that clearly redefines the scope of the Clean Water Act,” Huey said. “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.”

Huey added, “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.”

Based in Washington, D.C., the NAHB represents more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing, and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. 

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