Supreme Court sides with developers on Endangered Species Act case

Like a tormented parent with two kids in a spelling bee, environmentalists watched in horror this week as the U.S. Supreme Court judged the relative heft of two federal eco-laws. The case in question pitted green groups against the National Association of Home Builders. At issue was whether the U.S. EPA could delegate Clean Water Act permitting authority for new developments to the state of Arizona, since state agencies don’t necessarily have to consider the impact of development on critters protected under the Endangered Species Act. Got that? In a 5-4 ruling split tidily along ideological lines, the court landed in favor of the developers. Attorney Norman James called the ruling “an important win for the business community” and NAHB head Brian Catalde said it “recognizes that we must always maintain a balance when we look at environmental regulations.” But lawyer Michael Senatore said “endangered species are going to suffer” as a result of the decision, which reversed a lower court ruling.