|Richmond, VA – Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Sackett v. EPA, a case to determine what qualifies as wetlands and the E.P.A.’s authority to oversee pollution in these waters. Their ruling states that wetlands and waterways not easily seen as connected to a permanent body of water or waterway are no longer subjected to EPA oversight. This risks our sacred waterways for unregulated dumping and pollution, which is linked to severe health risks, and predominately impacts low-income and disadvantaged communities.
In response, Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, Executive Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, released the following statement:
“Virginia is full of small streams, wetlands, creeks, and other separate bodies of water that will now become free zones for polluters. This decision will likely allow developers, investors, and residential owners to undermine the incredible strides made by the EPA in water protection since the 1970s. Further, as flooding and superstorms continue to increase, the runoff from residential and commercial areas into these now unregulated bodies of water may lead to polluting of our wildlife and their habitats. We have been here before! As people of faith, we are morally outraged by their decision and will speak up and act on issues that endanger Virginians’ health and safety and our natural resources.
Across our nation, many seasonal streams and rivers, due to snowmelt and rains, are now at risk and will face similar negative impacts to those mentioned above. The Supreme Court is wading into an area where they do not have the requisite expertise, which is why we have an EPA to help regulate and protect this finite resource.”
About Virginia Interfaith Power & Light: Virginia Interfaith Power & Light collaborates with people of faith to grow healthy communities and advance climate justice through education, advocacy, and worship. For more information, visit http://www.vaipl.org.