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Jimmy Slaughter Quoted on Implications of Supreme Court Clean Water Act Decision for Solid Waste Industry

Waste Dive

The Supreme Court on May 25 issued a major, decisive opinion limiting the scope of the Clean Water Act. Sackett v. EPA, 598 U.S. ---, 2023 WL 3632751. Settling years of uncertainty following the Court's fractured 2006 decision in Rapanos, the 5 to 4 majority led by Justice Alito held Thursday that the Act "extends to only those wetlands that are as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States . . . [T]he wetland [must have] a continuous surface connection with that water.”

Principal Jimmy Slaughter (Washington, DC) spoke with Waste Dive about the Sackett decision and its implications for the solid waste industry. Waste Dive observed that wetlands are often a factor in the construction and expansion of landfills. In “Supreme Court decision to limit Clean Water Act considered beneficial for landfill development,” Jimmy said, “the decision goes further in limiting Clean Water Act jurisdiction than most observers thought the court would go.” He added:

“The latest — and most consequential — Sackett decision plainly will mean less federal and more state regulation of isolated water bodies and wetlands and could ease enforcement pressure on the many solid waste facilities that are not ‘adjoining’ to navigable waters like streams and rivers. It should also limit private citizen suits under the Clean Water Act, which are the most frequent type of federal enforcement for the solid waste industry.”

Jimmy also explained that it was notable that “the new, restrictive rule commanded only a 5-4 majority.”

Chambers-ranked lawyer, Jimmy Slaughter is a leader in mass tort, class action, and constitutional litigation involving chemicals, solid waste, drinking water, wastewater, and biosolids. Law360 named Jimmy an “MVP” for 2020, and American Lawyer selected him as a Runner-Up for Litigator of the Week five times in 2019, 2020, and 2021, and a Shout-Out recipient in 2023.

B&D’s water lawyers represent private and public sector clients in major cases and permitting under the Clean Water Act and other water quality laws, including the defense of federal and state enforcement actions and citizen suits. For more information on the implications of the Sackett v. EPA decision, please contact any member of B&D’s Water or Litigation practices.