Department of Ecology News Release - May 25, 2023

Statement from Ecology director on Supreme Court decision narrowing Clean Water Act protections


Today, Washington state Department of Ecology Director Laura Watson issued a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

In the Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision released today, the U.S. Supreme Court significantly narrowed federal protections for wetlands and streams.

These waterbodies are critical for absorbing runoff to preserve water quality and reduce flooding, and essential to the survival of endangered and threatened species.

In Washington, we have state laws and regulations that will continue to protect these waters.


In Washington, wetlands, streams, ponds and other water bodies are protected under the state’s 1945 Water Pollution Control Act, 1972 Shoreline Management Act, 1990 Growth Management Act, and other environmental regulations. For years, we’ve worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate projects in a streamlined fashion under the 1972 federal Clean Water Act. When projects fall outside federal purview, we address wetlands impacts, and identify mitigation and regulatory requirements.

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Andrew Wineke
Twitter: ecologywa