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Supreme Court Decision Undermines Clean Water Act

May 25, 2023


Jessica Mengistab
Program Manager, Climate & Clean Energy Advocacy
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
(732) 336-1606

Supreme Court Decision Undermines Clean Water Act

[Washington, D.C.] – Today the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released its decision in the case of Sackett v. EPA, argued October 2022, to determine which wetlands and other bodies of waters are protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This 5-4 decision with Justices Jackson, Kagan, Kavanaugh, and Sotomayor in opposition, significantly narrows the scope of the Clean Water Act. ANHE Executive Director, Katie Huffling, DNP, RN, CNM, FAAN issued the following statement: 

“The Supreme Court’s decision today undermines the original intent of the Clean Water Act – to ensure access to safe and clean water for all Americans. The weakening of this landmark law narrows the ability for agencies, such as the EPA, to enforce critical clean water safeguards that are essential to keeping people healthy. 

“In the 50 years since the passage of the bipartisan Clean Water Act, we have experienced a drastic clean up of our nation’s waterways. Yet, millions of people across the country still do not have access to clean and safe drinking water, exemplifying that progress must continue. The decision today undercuts progress and puts millions of people’s drinking water at risk, especially for those that continue to struggle with accessing clean water in states due to inadequate regulations and historical pollution. 

“Nurses are calling on the Administration to enforce the remaining provisions of law as permitted by the Court’s decision, for states to strengthen their own laws, and for Congress to act to restore safeguards that protect the clean water we all rely on.”


The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments is the only national nursing organization focused solely on the intersection of health and the environment. The mission of the Alliance is to promote healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy.