In a concurring opinion in the Supreme Court’s decision to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate wetlands, Justice Clarence Thomas hinted that he would be open to further gutting the agency’s power.
Thomas wrote that the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act was “a breathtaking expansion of EPA’s regulatory authority.” He said that the agency’s interpretation “would allow EPA to regulate virtually any land use that could have a ‘minimal’ impact on water quality.”
Thomas’s opinion is a sign that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is willing to take a more aggressive approach to limiting the power of federal agencies. This could have a significant impact on a wide range of environmental regulations, including those governing air pollution, water pollution, and climate change.
Environmental groups have expressed alarm at Thomas’s opinion. They say that it could make it much more difficult for the EPA to protect the environment.
“This is a dangerous and irresponsible decision that will have devastating consequences for our environment,” said David Doniger, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Supreme Court has just given a green light to polluters to pollute our air and water.”
The EPA has not yet said how it will respond to the Supreme Court’s decision. However, the agency is likely to face a number of challenges in its efforts to regulate pollution in the wake of the ruling.
The Supreme Court’s decision is a setback for environmental protection. However, it is important to remember that the EPA still has a number of tools at its disposal to protect the environment. The agency will need to use these tools effectively in order to mitigate the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision.