The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Cindy Carr,

Sierra Club Statement on Sackett v. EPA Supreme Court Ruling

Today, a five-Justice conservative majority of the Supreme Court ruled to gut clean water protections for millions of Americans. The case, Sackett v. EPA, is a corporate polluter-backed effort to dismantle the Clean Water Act by narrowing the definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The Court’s decision will open millions of acres of wetlands – all formerly protected by the Clean Water Act – to pollution and destruction, including by negating many of President Biden’s wetland protections in his new WOTUS rule released last year. The majority decision – delivered by Justice Alito and joined by Justices Roberts, Thomas, Gorsuch, and Barrett – puts the drinking water supplies of millions of Americans at risk.

Three in four Americans support strong federal protections for more waters and wetlands, and decades of polling affirm that protecting our water supplies garners overwhelming support across ideological lines.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA is profoundly wrong and directly at odds with the statute Congress enacted 50 years ago – a statute the public supported then, and continues to support today. Access to clean, safe, reliable water is a fundamental human right, and it is deeply disappointing that the Court has sided with polluters and the industry to roll back the clock on clean water protections. As a result of this decision, millions of Americans will have less safe drinking water than the generation before them.

“Many things have changed in the 50 years since Congress passed the bedrock Clean Water Act - but not our understanding of how critical it is to protect and maintain clean water for every American regardless of skin color, zip code, or income, and not the greed of corporate polluters who would destroy them for their own profit. The American people deserve better than having their clean water sold to the highest bidder. This decision highlights the power and importance of judges and Justices to public health and our environmental priorities.

“This fight is far from over. The Sierra Club will continue to fight until every person in this country has access to clean, reliable, safe water for drinking and recreation.”

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

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