August 15, 2012
Forest Roads Issue Continues to Move
Even though Congress is in recess, the Forest Roads issue continues to be debated in the administration and in the courts. As reported in the last FLA E-Newsletter, HR 2541, the Silvicultural Regulatory Consistency Act, passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This was a positive sign of Congressional support of the issue and the forestry community. Unfortunately with less than 30 days of Congressional activity remaining it is doubtful that the legislation will be sent to the floor of the House for a vote.
On the regulatory front, the EPA is still moving forward with their Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue guidelines for water runoff from logging roads despite the fact that the Supreme Court announced they will hear the case.
The question the Court will address is whether rainwater running off forest roads must be regulated as point source pollution. The Ninth Circuit held that forest roads should be regulated under the federal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System. Putting the forest road runoff under this permitting regime goes against the EPA’s practice exempting such stormwater, and would impose unnecessary and enormous costs on 3 million forest landowners with little, if any, environmental benefit.
EPA’s decision to move forward with their NOI is due in large part to the Administration’s position on the issue that was clearly stated in the Solicitor General’s recommendation to the Supreme Court not to hear the case but rather allow the EPA to handle the issue. FLA submitted comments in June to the EPA on the NOI citing the high level of private landowner compliance with the Clean Water Act through the application of state BMP’s. The next step will be a 30 day comment period after the Office of Management and Budget has completed their review of the EPA’s recommendations.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in early December and will issue a decision as early as February or as late as June, 2013.
FLA CEO Scott Jones was recently quoted on the forest roads issue in the Society of American Forester’s August issue of The Forestry Source as saying, “In order to sustain the forest, the forest landowner must be sustained as well. The erroneous ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would do just the opposite. The decision flies in the face of the solid science inherent in best management practices, their 35 years of success, and a very high compliance rate in every state. The ruling, if left to stand, would cause financial, legal, and environmental problems further burdening all US forest landowners, private and public, large and small. We are encouraged that the Court will hear this case.”
Charlotte, NC Regional Meeting
FLA is pleased to announce special guest speakers Mary Ellen Aronow, Senior Forest Economist from Hancock Resource Group’s headquarters in Boston MA and John Keppler, Chief Executive Officer of Enviva, LP!
The registration deadline for the 2012 Charlotte Regional Meeting is August 16, 2012. Do not miss out on this opportunity to hear this outstanding line up of speakers! Be sure to reserve a spot at this meeting and register TODAY!
Continuing Forestry Education Credits:
Category 1-CF 2.5 CFE Hours