The Supreme Court is set to take up a critical debate over the scope of federal water protections.

The justices today agreed to hear what amounts to the biggest environmental case of this year: a dispute over which types of pollution discharges trigger the Clean Water Act.

The issue reached the high court in two different cases: County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP v. Upstate Forever. The justices will hear the first one.

Both raise this critical question: If a pollutant travels through groundwater before reaching a federally regulated waterway, does the Clean Water Act apply?

Read the full report from Environment & Energy News.

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The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Joe Ravi/Wikimedia Commons