Justice Scalia, Environmental Champion

Today the Supreme Court decided Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center.  By a vote of 7-1 (with Justice Breyer not participating) the Court held that the Clean Water Act and its implementing regulations do not require timber companies to obtain NPDES permits for stormwater runoff from logging roads.  The sole dissenter was Justice Scalia, who would have affirmed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit holding that NPDES permits were required.  In Justice Scalia’s view, the plain meaning of the EPA’s implementing regulations required this result, even though the EPA argued for an alternative interpretation.  So not only was Justice Scalia the only justice to support the position advocated by environmentalist groups (and the Ninth Circuit), he also rejected the interpretation advanced by the executive branch.

UPDATE: For more on the substance of Scalia’s dissent, see this post.

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