Oral arguments for Sackett v. EPA stick to semantics as SCOTUS poised to damage Clean Water Act next

Oral arguments for Sackett v. EPA stick to semantics as SCOTUS poised to damage Clean Water Act next

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03: People gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building to hear oral arguments on October 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court is hearing oral arguments for the first set of cases today which are Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency and Delaware v. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The start of oral arguments for the Supreme Court’s October 2022 term began with Sackett v. EPA, a case that appears to hinge on whether the wetlands on the Sackett’s Idaho property falls under the Clean Water Act’s purview.

The start of the October 2022 Supreme Court term began with the highest court in the U.S. hearing oral arguments in the case Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, a case in which the term “navigable waters” as included in the Clean Water Act could drastically change if the majority-conservative Supreme Court has its way. A recent interview with the Sackett’s lawyer, Damien Schiff, gets to the heart of the matter as the Sacketts look at it: Are the wetlands the Sacketts so desperately want to destroy to complete their dream property near Idaho’s Priest Lake subject to federal permits?

Schiff, throughout his arguments on Monday, stuck to dictionary definitions, such as what truly constitutes abutment when it comes to where the wetlands end and nearby waterways begin, or if they intersect at all. He attempted to paint a portrait of his clients suffering for years at the hands of the EPA, having been targeted over the wetlands on their property despite having neighbors who were able to build without interest in how their construction may harm the environment. Schiff made it seem, especially toward the end of his rebuttal, that the Sacketts would be spending exorbitant amounts in order to obtain the permit they needed.

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