Court rules in favor of loggers in water runoff case

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Supreme Court ruled that Oregon logging companies and forestry officials were not required to get EPA permits for storm-water runoff from logging roads.

The decision was a blow to conservationists who had used the permit process to block the silty runoff from logging, which they said choked forest streams. The ruling also suggested that at least some members of the court may be open to a fundamental re-examination of how federal courts approach determinations by administrative agencies.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in the 7-to-1 decision, said the agency’s conclusion that no permits were required was entitled to deference. “It is well established,” he wrote, “that an agency’s interpretation need not be the only possible reading of a regulation — or even the best one — to prevail.”

Read more at The New York Times.

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