BISMARCK, N.D. – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court narrowed federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction to only wetlands that are “indistinguishable” from larger bodies of water “due to a continuous surface connection.”
Federal agencies previously asserted expansive jurisdiction over wetlands across the country, comprising more land area than both California and Texas combined. Landowners could not easily tell whether their wetlands were subject to federal jurisdiction, compelling them to go through expensive and onerous permitting processes.
“I applaud the decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “This is a huge victory for North Dakota private landowners, agriculture producers and energy producers. The consensus majority opinion finally brings clarity and a clear definition to what comprises wetlands. It protects landowner rights and gives landowners an understandable legal framework to use when working their lands.”