In a significant victory for business, the U.S. Supreme Court this week dismissed a case brought by residents of Chester County, Pa., against the state of Pennsylvania accusing the state of racial discrimination for placing waste-treatment facilities in the mostly black city. The case grew out of "environmental justice" policy guidelines issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in February that encourage class-action lawsuits under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Business fears that state and local governments, eager to avoid such suits, would reject -- or fail to renew -- operating permits for company facilities located in low-income or urban areas.
The dismissal boosts business' effort to repeal the guidelines. "If EPA's policy goes forward, it guarantees that businesses will move out of America's inner cities, taking with them the good-paying jobs from the neighborhoods that need them most," says Bill Kovacs, vice president for environment at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.