WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-09) issued the following statement in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in the case, Sackett v. the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which ruled in favor of the Sacketts, an Idaho family who have been in a 15-year battle with the EPA over plans to build a home on their residential land:
“Today’s unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court striking down the EPA’s bizarre Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA) is a win for the Constitution, farmers and private landowners who have suffered from years of unnecessary litigation.
For over a decade, leftist agitators at the EPA have made the false claim that every drop of water in the United States is subject to control by the federal government. Environmental radicals and climate alarmists claimed that even a pond in someone’s private backyard is subject to federal control. Indeed, they made this claim against the Sacketts and threatened to put them in jail and fine them $40,000 per day because they made some improvements to their own backyard pond.
I have been fighting against the ridiculous EPA WOTUS rule since 2014. As past-Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, I led the fight against WOTUS from 2016 to 2020. I worked with President Trump, who wisely paused this WOTUS rule, only to see Mr. Biden recklessly pursue it. The Court has prudently struck down this egregious rule that has harmed Americans for years while bluntly taking the EPA to task for the magnitude of its overreach,” stated Congressman Gosar.
In a reasoned decision, the Supreme Court chastised the EPA and overruled the WOTUS rule as far beyond anything Congress authorized. In the future, the EPA is limited to regulating rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands that are directly, without interruption, connected to navigable waters. No longer are swimming pools, ponds, drainage ditches or dry gulches subject to the jack-booted military enforcement of the EPA and no longer will honest citizens be charged with crimes.
In its ruling, the Court explained that “the CWA extends to only wetlands that are ‘as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States.’ This requires the party asserting jurisdiction to establish “first, that the adjacent [body of water constitutes] . . . ‘water[s] of the United States’ (i.e., a relatively permanent body of water connected to traditional interstate navigable waters); and second, that the wetland has a continuous surface connection with that water…”
The WOTUS rule was first enacted under President Obama in 2014 and was immediately criticized as well outside the scope of the CWA and congressional intent and meaning of the statute. President Trump paused application of the rule noting that it was unconstitutional and a gross violation of American property rights. Mr. Biden, in a rash and temperamental decision, invoked the rule, which is what lead to the current litigation and the Court striking it.
Summary of Actions Taken by Congressman Gosar:
On May 1, 2014, Congressman Gosar sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the EPA, and John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army, urging them to withdraw the proposed rule.
On January 28, 2015, Congressman Gosar introduced H.R. 594, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.
On May 12, 2015, the House passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act. This critical legislation requires the EPA and Corps of Engineers to formally withdraw the agencies’ proposed rule that would redefine WOTUS and any subsequent final rule. Congressman Gosar joined the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Bill Shuster in introducing this bill.
On March 15, 2016, Congressman Gosar sent a letter to House Appropriators urging no taxpayer funds be used to implement WOTUS.
On May 25, 2016, an amendment offered by Congressman Gosar passes undermining WOTUS Rule expansion via climate modeling.
On June 26, 2017, Congressman Gosar issued a statement lauding the Trump Administration’s decision to roll back WOTUS.
On June 21, 2018, Congressman Gosar and members of Congressional Western Caucus issue a statement on passage of the Farm Bill that includes repealing WOTUS.
On September 20, 2018, Congressman Gosar and members of the Congressional Western Caucus demand repeal of WOTUS.
On December 11, 2018, Congressman Gosar penned an opinion editorial urging the repeal of WOTUS.
On September 12, 2019, Congressman Gosar and members of the Congressional Western Caucus praise President Trump for repealing WOTUS.
On January 28, 2020, Congressman Gosar and members of the Congressional Western Caucus lead a Special Order on the House Floor regarding WOTUS.
On November 19, 2021, Congressman Gosar and members of the Congressional Western Caucus speak out against Biden’s decision to return to WOTUS.
On April 20, 2022, Congressman Gosar filed an Amicus Brief in support of states being the primary regulators of land and water resources.
Click here to read the Supreme Court’s decision.