U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



2012 Term

Oral Argument Date

December 03, 2012


Questions Presented

Whether the Ninth Circuit should have deferred to EPA's longstanding position that channeled runoff from forest roads does not require a permit, and erred when it mandated that EPA regulate such runoff as industrial stormwater subject to NPDES.

Case Updates

Supreme Court holds CWA provision governing challenges to agency actions is not jurisdictional

March 20, 2013

The Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit holding that a provision of the Clean Water Act governing challenges to agency actions is not a jurisdictional bar to this suit. The Court also held that the EPA’s recent amendment to the Rule does not make the cases moot.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

September 04, 2012

NCLC urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that a court hearing a “citizen suit” brought pursuant to the Clean Water Act cannot invalidate an EPA regulation in the guise of interpreting it. The case arises out of an environmentalist group’s “citizen suit” challenge to the EPA's long-standing “Silvicultural Rule,” which says that the Clean Water Act does not require National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits for runoff from forest roads. NCLC's amicus brief explains that under the “citizen suit” provision of the Clean Water Act, courts enjoy jurisdiction only to enforce EPA rules, not to invalidate them. The brief argues that the Ninth Circuit ignored the jurisdictional line between enforcement and invalidation of rules, and effectively disguised its invalidation of the Silvicultural Rule as a mere “interpretation” and enforcement of the rule. The Ninth Circuit’s decision dispenses with the Clean Water Act’s jurisdictional limitations; discards Congress’s carefully drawn review regime; gives district courts review authority that Congress did not intend them to have; and upsets the stability of comparable rules and review provisions. If allowed to stand, the Ninth Circuit decision would subject countless Chamber members and other regulated parties to new degrees of legal uncertainty across the entire swath of the Code of Federal Regulations provisions that are subject to enforcement via citizen suits.

Case Documents