Marisa Twigg, Creative and Communications Director, May 26, 2023
COLUMBUS, OH — Today, the United States Supreme Court gutted the Clean Water Act in Sackett vs. US EPA. The anti-science and pro-polluter decision strikes down protections for millions of acres of wetlands across the country that will cause disastrous impacts for thousands of wetland acres in Ohio.
Under the decision, wetlands without a continuous link to navigable waters or their tributaries are not protected. Ohio has already lost a shocking 90% of its wetlands. This destructive ruling endangers our state’s remaining 10% of wetlands and puts Ohio’s 36,000 miles of rain-dependent streams at risk. Swamps, bogs and marshes are not only safe havens for hundreds of migratory and endangered birds, but these wetlands are critical to reducing harmful algal blooms that put the drinking water of communities like Toledo at risk.
The following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Melanie Houston, Managing Director of Water Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):
“The Supreme Court’s decision has once again placed itself on the side of polluters, rather than people and the environment. We already know that climate change increases the frequency and severity of floods — an extreme weather event that wetlands help mitigate naturally. Ohioans will be burdened with increased costs for storm recovery, clean-up, stormwater management, and critical infrastructure to adapt to high incidence flooding events.
“In the last few years, the State of Ohio has recreated more than 80 wetlands across the state through Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio water quality restoration initiative. We urge the Governor and Ohio General Assembly to continue their statewide efforts to reduce harmful algal blooms and nutrient runoff by restoring Ohio’s wetland legacy — rather than following the footsteps of this federal clean water rollback. Without continued state protection or new federal protections, the Supreme Court’s decision opens the door for polluters to further degrade Ohio’s wetlands.
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