In this case, environmental organizations challenged a long-standing EPA regulation which allows timber businesses to use and maintain forest roads without obtaining costly National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Despite the fact that EPA has always interpreted the Clean Water Act (CWA) as exempting timber companies from the requirement to obtain NPDES permits, the Ninth Circuit held otherwise. But, the CWA is ambiguous as to whether it exempts timber businesses from the NPDES permitting regime.
We argued in our brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that ambiguities in the CWA should be resolved--consistent with the principles of federalism and the constitutional presumption of liberty enshrined in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments--to protect economic liberties. Here the timber companies are operating consistent with Oregon law, and we should not infer that Congress wanted to impose further regulatory burdens in the absence of some clear indication of that intent in the text of the statute.
For more information, commentary and insight visit the NFIB blog. Our brief to the U.S. Supreme Court is available here.
Status: Pending - U.S. Supreme Court