The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has joined other petitioners in a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a Ninth Circuit decision (NEDC v. Brown) finding that logging roads are “point sources” requiring Clean Water Act industrial discharge permits.
As the Supreme Court is reviewing the Ninth Circuit decision, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule to clarify that precipitation runoff from these roads is not a discharge associated with industrial activity. For over 35 years, EPA has properly regulated this type of runoff through state best management practices that are adapted to local conditions.
“While we understand the intent of EPA’s proposed rule, we believe this action is premature and are concerned about EPA moving forward while the matter is being considered by the Supreme Court,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. “This parallel track unnecessarily increases the confusion and legal uncertainty faced by landowners and others in the supply chain that depend on a steady supply of wood fiber to make products essential to everyday life.”
Petitioners’ briefs have been filed in the case, and amicus briefs will be filed next week. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in December and issue a final decision no later than June 2013.
“At this point in the process, EPA should wait until the Supreme Court makes a decision. Even if the EPA could finalize its rule before the court’s decision, it will take months if not years to be implemented and the rule likely will be challenged in court, continuing the legal uncertainty.”
Click here to read the brief.