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SCOTUS Deals Another Blow to Biden’s Agenda

The Supreme Court just took another swipe at the Biden administration’s regulatory authority, delivering a major win for multiple industries including oil and gas.

The court’s conservative majority vastly narrowed the reach of federal clean water protections, erasing protections for millions of acres of wetlands, write E.A. Crunden, Pamela King and Ariel Wittenberg. It also sent yet another signal of the justices’ skepticism toward federal regulations, which potentially bodes ill for President Joe Biden’s other environmental and climate policies.

The decision will require the administration to rework a recent regulation that provided broad protections for wetlands, which trap and store carbon pollution, provide critical wildlife habitat, and soak up floodwaters, writes Annie Snider.

The ruling is a victory for homebuilders and fossil fuel companies, which need permits to build on or damage federally protected waters under the Clean Water Act. For decades, those industries and agricultural businesses have fought to limit the law’s reach.

Environmental groups decried the ruling, calling it a catastrophic loss for water protections that will imperil the nation’s wetlands.

It’s been a rough year for federal climate rules.

The Supreme Court last year scaled back federal regulatory options for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s thousands of power plants. And the high court may get another crack at that issue — Republicans have pledged to challenge Biden’s newest proposals for slashing power plants’ greenhouse gas pollution.

And the Supreme Court has opened the door toward upending a decades-old legal doctrine that bolsters federal agencies’ power to regulate on key issues like climate change.