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BREAKING: Devastating News from EPA -Yesterday the US Supreme Court Slashed its Wetlands Protections

Audubon Society photo o wetlands that provide major sustenance for New York's Avian population as well as human population

According to NPR (National Public Radio)'s Associate Editor James Doubek, a Tuesday, April 29th ruling by the US Supreme Court will put just about all

US Wetlands, which will obviously affect all inland waterways,l aquiifers and drinking water at risk. The court, which has been under pressure from businesses and developers, confirmed a REMOVAL of regulations that protect wetlands associated with major waterways. Meanwhile, we can do the math! How many homeowners and municipalities rely on wetlands that feed our aquifers for their water resources and are a major source for flood control. But not to panic, Doubek suggests that States can and do set their own controls, and we should not be surprised if we see Congress step in. We wonder whether Governor Hochul was aware of this potential when she announced her commitment to the New York Clean Water Act.

New York's, wetlands are classified by landscape position, vegetation cover and hydrologic regime. The Cowardin system includes five major wetland types: marine, estuarine, lacustrine, palustrine and riverine.Apr 13, 2023 New York has an estimated 2.4 million acres of wetlands. The wettest ecoregions are the Lake Plains and the Adirondacks., but much of the water ends up farther to the South where thet greatest population sites are.

But even with strong local protections, who isn't willing to bet that businesses and developers will be chomping at the bit to argue the issue right back to the Supreme Court... one by one if necessary. The EPA appears to have taken the position that they are powerless to fight back. And the public? Article 78's anyone? Calls to Congress and New York Legislators anyone?

In Doubek's NPR Report he says that on August 23 "The Environmental Protection Agency removed federal protections for a majority of the country's wetlands to comply with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The EPA and Department of the Army announced a final rule amending the definition of protected "waters of the United States" in light of the decision in Sackett v. EPA in May, which narrowed the scope of the Clean Water Act and the agency's power to regulate waterways and wetlands.

Developers and environmental groups have for decades argued about the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act in protecting waterways and wetlands."While I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision in the Sackett case, EPA and Army have an obligation to apply this decision alongside our state co-regulators, Tribes, and partners," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

A 2006 Supreme Court decision determined that wetlands would be protected if they had a "significant nexus" to major waterways. This year's court decision undid that standard. The EPA's new rule "removes the significant nexus test from consideration when identifying tributaries and other waters as federally protected," the agency said.

As a result of the rule change, protections for many waterways and wetlands will now fall to states."

"While the Administration's rule attempts to protect clean water and wetlands, it is severely limited in its ability to do so as a result of the Supreme Court ruling which slashed federal protections for thousands of miles of small streams and wetlands," said the group American Rivers. "This means communities across the U.S. are now more vulnerable to pollution and flooding. Streams and wetlands are not only important sources of drinking water, they are buffers against extreme storms and floodwaters."

"This rule spells out how the Sackett decision has undermined our ability to prevent the destruction of our nation's wetlands, which protect drinking water, absorb floods and provide habitat for wildlife," said Jim Murphy, the National Wildlife Federation's director of legal advocacy. "Congress needs to step up to protect the water we drink, our wildlife, and our way of life."

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