The U.S. Supreme Court today announced this week it will review a 2010 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision requiring National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for forest roads.
“We are happy the Supreme Court recognizes the importance of this issue. EPA’s nonpoint pollution control rule that has applied to forest roads for nearly 40 years should be reinstated,” said Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council. “The Ninth Circuit just did not recognize that Best Management Practices have been very effective in controlling runoff from our forest roads.”
AFRC and six other associations representing federal forest and rangeland resource businesses and families filed an amicus brief last October supporting the requests of Oregon’s State Forester Doug Decker and the forest products industry for review.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May announced that it intends to revise its stormwater regulations to specify that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is not required for stormwater discharge from logging roads.
The EPA is also requesting comment on potential approaches for addressing stormwater discharges from forest roads and seeks input on examples of successful state, tribal and certification-oriented programs that are based on “best management practices.”
The EPA will accept written comments for 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-23/pdf/2012-12524.pdf. EPA officials also plan to hold listening sessions to obtain stakeholder input this summer on its consideration of how best to address stormwater discharges from forest roads.
The agency says it will consider a full range of potential non-permitting approaches under the Clean Water Act including voluntary programs and further support for state and tribal programs.
In August, 2010, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that polluted runoff from logging roads is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.
For more detailed information, see CBB, May 25, 2012, “EPA Announces Intent To Revise Stormwater Regulations To Address Polluted Runoff From Logging Roads” http://www.cbbulletin.com/420816.aspx