Eighteen AGs Filed Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court on Clean Water Act Protections

New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of 18 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief urging the Court to dismiss the Sackett’s contention in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). After the petitioners in the case purchased a plot of land in Idaho, EPA informed them that the area was a wetland with a “significant nexus” to navigable waters and thus subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA); the petitioners contended that wetlands that lack a surface-water connection to navigable water—like theirs—are not subject to the CWA. Since the purpose of the CWA is to provide coordinated protection of the nation’s shared water system that piecemeal state standards cannot provide, removing an entire category of waterways from the Act’s jurisdiction would undercut the statute’s purpose. Additionally, the coalition explained that since multiple states have structured their own standards around the CWA, changing how the Act is interpreted would significantly weaken state-level water protections as well.