Alito’s Wife Leased Plot of Land to Energy Company While Justice Weakened EPA

  • In June 2022, Justice Samuel Alito’s wife leased a plot of land in Oklahoma to an oil and gas company.
  • Alito’s wife stands to earn 3/16ths of the money generated from the land should extraction prove successful.
  • Alito in several rulings before the court has been part of majority decisions to reduce the scope of the EPA.

In June 2022, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito filed a lease for a plot of land in Oklahoma which would give her partial revenue from any oil or gas obtained from the designated area, according to The Intercept.

In the lease, Martha Ann Bomgardner Alito came to an agreement with Citizen Energy III — an oil and natural gas company — which would give her 3/16ths of the revenue generated from potential oil and gas sales if the plot that she inherited from her late father could produce any fossil fuels.

There are thousands of oil and gas leases across Oklahoma, where the energy sector is a critical economic driver. And Citizen Energy III isn’t part of any specific cases in front of the Supreme Court, which doesn’t present a clear conflict of interest regarding Bomgardner Alito’s land in Oklahoma.

But the lease troubles many environmentalists given Justice Alito’s role in weakening the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency in several cases that have come before the court.

Jeff Hauser, the founder and director of the Revolving Door Project, told The Intercept that there is a broader issue of what the land could reap financially — even if a company involved in a lease wasn’t tied to a specific case in front of the court.

“There need not be a specific case involving the drilling rights associated with a specific plot of land for Alito to understand what outcomes in environmental cases would buttress his family’s net wealth,” he told the outlet. “Alito does not have to come across like a drunken Paul Thomas Anderson character gleefully confessing to drinking our collective milkshakes in order to be a real life, run-of-the-mill political villain.”

In May, the Supreme Court limited the ability of the EPA to regulate wetlands in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, which will affect the agency’s ability to enforce the Clean Water Act.

The decision frustrated President Joe Biden and served as a major blow to environmentalists.

“It puts our nation’s wetlands — and the rivers, streams, lakes and ponds connected to them — at risk of pollution and destruction, jeopardizing the sources of clean water that millions of American families, farmers and businesses rely on,” the president said in a statement regarding the ruling last month.

In the 5-4 majority opinion, Alito wrote that the Clean Water Act was a “great success,” but also remarked that it could be a “potent weapon” for federal regulators.

And last year, the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA limited the federal agency’s ability to control the level of carbon emissions from power plants. In the 6-3 vote, Alito joined the conservative bloc in the decision.

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