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DECKER, ET AL. v. NORTHWEST ENVTL. DEFENSE CENTER

Docket No.: 11-338
Argued: December 3, 2012
Decided: March 20, 2013
Consolidated with: 11-347

Topics:

Article I, Civil Procedure, Clean Air Act, Clean Water, Clean Water Act, EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources, judicial review, privacy, separation of powers

PartyNames: Doug Decker, in His Official Capacity as Oregon State Forester, et al. v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center
Petitioner: Doug Decker, in His Official Capacity as Oregon State Forester, et al.
Respondent: Northwest Environmental Defense Center

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: 640 F3d 1063
Supreme Court Docket

Doug Decker, in His Official Capacity as Oregon State Forester, et al.
v.
Northwest Environmental Defense Center
Question Presented:

(1) Congress has authorized citizens dissatisfied with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) rules implementing the Clean Water Act's (CWA's) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program to seek judicial review of those rules in the Courts of Appeals. See 33 U.S.C. § 1369(b). Congress further specified that those rules cannot be challenged in any civil or criminal enforcement proceeding. Consistent with the terms of the statute, multiple circuit courts have held that if a rule is reviewable under 33 U.S.C. § 1369, it is exclusively reviewable under that statute and cannot be challenged in another proceeding. Did the Ninth Circuit err when, in conflict with those circuits, it held that a citizen may bypass judicial review of an NPDES permitting rule under 33 U.S.C. § 1369, and may instead challenge the validity of the rule in a citizen suit to enforce the CWA? (2) In 33 U.S.C. § 1342(p), Congress required NPDES permits for stormwater discharges "associated with industrial activity," and delegated to EPA the responsibility to determine what activities qualified as "industrial" for purposes of the permitting program. EPA determined that stormwater from logging roads and other specified silvicultural activities is non-industrial stormwater that does not require an NPDES permit. See 40 C.F.R. § 122.26(b)(14). Did the Ninth Circuit err when it held that stormwater from logging roads is industrial stormwater under the CWA and EPS's rules, even though EPA has determined that it is not industrial stormwater?

DECKER, ET AL. v. NORTHWEST ENVTL. DEFENSE CENTER
ORAL ARGUMENT

December 3, 2012

Listen to Oral Argument in DECKER, ET AL. v. NORTHWEST ENVTL. DEFENSE CENTER
Holding: VACATED AND REMANDED|
Vote: 7-1
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