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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA, which narrowed the scope of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Today’s decision hampers federal wetland protections and the Clean Water Act’s goal of improving and maintaining the quality of the nation's waters.
“Despite today’s disappointing decision, California will continue to do all we can to protect our waterways and the communities and biodiversity they sustain,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The Supreme Court’s decision today narrowed federal protections under the Clean Water Act, making it all the more critical for states to use their authority to increase water quality protections. We urge Congress to broaden the scope of the Clean Water Act in light of today’s ruling, but in the meantime, we will continue to use every tool available to us under the law to protect our precious waterways and the people and ecosystems that depend on them.”
The Clean Water Act serves as a strong federal foundation for water pollution control and water quality protection that preserves the integrity of our waters. While the Act has resulted in dramatic improvements to water quality in the United States, its overriding objective has not yet been achieved. Many of the nation’s waters fail to meet water quality standards. The Act specifically authorizes states to adopt water quality protections beyond those set forth in federal law. California has adopted stringent wetlands regulations that will continue to safeguard our wetlands as federal protections are shrinking.