A crucial element of Georgetown County’s resilience plan was dealt a setback last week with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited federal regulation of wetlands. In a case from Washington State, the court ruled that the Clean Water Act only applies to wetlands with “a continuous surface connection” to navigable waters.
That will roll back protection for wetlands that lack a direct connection to the so-called “waters of the U.S.,” said Amy Armstrong, executive director of the S.C. Environmental Law Project.
The ruling was handed down as consultants took comments on a draft of the resilience element of Georgetown County’s comprehensive plan. The element recommends that the county continue to work to preserve fresh and salt water wetlands. “To ensure their safety for years to come would be an incredibly productive way to prevent a decline in natural resilience for the county,” it states.
Although no one has trouble defining wetlands, “we’ve fought over what wetlands are part of the waters of the U.S.,” Armstrong said...