On Friday, February 1, 2013, the Forest Landowners Association, joined by a coalition of stakeholders including NAFO, Oregon Forest Industries Council, AF&PA, Hampton, Stimson, Georgia-Pacific, Swanson, the American Farm Bureau Federation, SLMA, and FRA, intervened in litigation filed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule clarifying that forest roads do not require point source industrial discharge permits under the Clean Water Act.
This motion to intervene responds to a new lawsuit filed by the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) to challenge the EPA rule. EPA issued the rule in late 2012 in response to the Ninth Circuit’s decision in 2011 that logging roads are industrial activities requiring these NPDES permits for point source stormwater discharges. The Supreme Court is currently considering in Decker v. NEDC whether the rule eliminates the need for the Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision that overturned EPA’s 37-years of successful policy that logging roads are effectively regulated under state-adopted Best Management Practices. (Sound confusing? Read the article “The Long and Winding Road” by Richard W. Goeken, partner, Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP in the 2013 January/February issue of Forest Landowner magazine)
One of the primary coalition members and lead organization on this issue, NAFO, released a statement from their President and CEO Dave Tenny stating “We agree with the position EPA has taken for 37 years that forest roads do not require point source permits under the Clean Water Act,”
“Clearly, the litigation is not going to end anytime soon. NEDC is eager to challenge any EPA policy that does not require permits, as they made clear to the Supreme Court,” Tenny continued. “Forest owners, the EPA, the Solicitor General, 31 attorneys general and a broad coalition of interests across the country all agree that forest roads don’t require permits and that the Supreme Court should erase the Ninth Circuit’s decision. Still, for a small yet vocal minority the litigation drum beat goes on.”
“It is time for Congress to pass permanent legislation that restores EPA’s successful regulation of forest roads as nonpoint sources,” Tenny concluded.
The Forest Landowners Association will continue to work on this issue and will do our part to activate our grassroots efforts when the time is right. Please continue to monitor this issue and be prepared to take action when requested.