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National Association of Home Builders v. United States Army Corps of Engineers
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
453 F. Supp. 2d 116 (2006)
The Clean Water Act (CWA) authorized the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) (defendant) to issue individual and general permits governing the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters. The CWA allowed the Corps to issue general permits to cover activities that were similar in nature and caused minimal environmental impact when performed separately and cumulatively. If a project met the conditions set out in the general permit, no individual permit was required. The Corps issued new and modified general nationwide permits and general conditions governing the discharge of dredged or fill material, with more stringent conditions on the acreage of water affected by the discharge. Three parties, including National Association of Home Builders (collectively, the challengers) (plaintiffs), challenged the new nationwide permits and general conditions in federal district court, claiming that the Corps’ regionalized method for determining minimal environmental impact was arbitrary and capricious. The challengers argued that the more stringent conditions were unfair in that they were formulated to protect more-sensitive locations and failed to cover activities that would have minimal adverse environmental effects in less-sensitive locations. The district court consolidated three cases, and all parties filed motions for summary judgment and cross-motions for summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Leon, J.)
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