Victory in Decker: Supreme Court says NPDES permits not required for logging road runoff

March 20, 2013 | By BRIAN HODGES

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion this morning in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center.  In a 7-1 decision, written by Justice Kennedy, the Court concluded that EPA’s Industrial Stormwater Rule exempts discharges of channeled stormwater runoff from logging roads from the NPDES permitting scheme.  The Court’s opinion is based on its conclusion that EPA’s regulation is a reasonable interpretation of the Clean Water Act provision requiring permits for discharges “associated with industrial activity.”  EPA has consistently interpreted the CWA to exempt stormwater discharges from logging roads, and the Court’s decision today upholds that interpretation.

The opinion is consistent with PLF’s amicus briefs in this case.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post analyzing the opinion in greater detail.