The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the federal Clean Water Act takes precedence over the Endangered Species Act when considering approval of development plans. The ruling is seen as a victory for developers.
"The court ruled five to four in favor of the National Association of Home Builders in the case, in which environmentalists sought to have endangered species given significant consideration in decisions whether to allow developments to move forward. The majority held that clean water rules are more important when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is brought into such matters."
From the Associated Press:
"In the case, an environmental group challenged the EPA's decision to transfer to Arizona the authority to regulate pollutants emptied into rivers and other surface water sources. The group, Defenders of Wildlife, argued that the transfer violated the federal Endangered Species Act and would leave the state's rivers vulnerable to contaminants that could damage wildlife habitat."
"Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the conservative majority, said the endangered-species law takes a back seat to the clean-water law when it comes to the EPA handing authority to a state to issue water-pollution permits."