Supreme Court Dramatically Narrows Scope of Clean Water Act

By undermining Clean Water Act protections for wetlands, today’s Supreme Court ruling puts people and vulnerable communities in harm's way.  

An aerial view of etlands near the Cameron liquefied natural gas export terminal located along the Calcasieu Channel in Hackberry, Louisiana

Wetlands near the Cameron liquefied natural gas export terminal along the Calcasieu Channel in Hackberry, Louisiana


Julie Dermansky for NRDC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Supreme Court today stripped out key protections from the Clean Water Act, weakening the law, and narrowing its ability to defend the quality of the nation’s waterways.

Manish Bapna, president and CEO of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), made the following statement:

“The Supreme Court ripped the heart out of the law we depend on to protect American waters and wetlands. The majority chose to protect polluters at the expense of healthy wetlands and waterways. This decision will cause incalculable harm. Communities across the country will pay the price.

“What’s important now is to repair the damage. The government must enforce the remaining provisions of law that protect the clean water we all rely on for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation and more. States should quickly strengthen their own laws. Congress needs to act to restore protections for all our waters. 

“We’ll stand with frontline communities, scientists, health professionals and others to press for the responsible clean water protections we need.”

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. 

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