The Supreme Court has determined that the Endangered Species Act does not override the Clean Water Act and that states may issue water permits even if that could violate the ESA. The 5-4 decision on June 25 is a win for the Environmental Protection Agency and the construction industry and a defeat for environmental groups.

The clean-water law allows states to issue permits if nine criteria are met, but the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to consider whether their actions would threaten species. In its opinion in National Association of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife and EPA v. Defenders of Wildlife, the court ruled that the Clean Water Act doesn't give EPA "discretion to add another entirely separate prerequisite" to the nine specified criteria.