The forestry community across the country is buzzing with the news of the Supreme Court’s decision in Decker v. NEDC. The Supreme Court voted 7-1 in favor of exempting forest roads from industrial runoff rules, as the EPA has done successfully for decades.
This is a very big win for forestry. NEDC has sued the EPA saying that the forest road runoff was an industrial runoff and should not be exempt from requiring point source discharge permits (NPDES). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal agreed with them, setting the stage for a very expensive hit for forestry across the nation as each forest road, or even worse, each culvert, would now require the permit.
The case was immediately sent to the Supreme Court, backed by forestry associations and companies across the country. The Supreme Court agreed to take the case while both the House and the Senate wrote bills that formally exempted forest roads from industrial point source discharge permits.
The ruling is also a testimonial for Best Management Plans, as Oregon’s very effective Best Management Plans for handling forestry roads were a key factor in the court’s decision.
Both the Forest Landowners Association and the American Forest Foundation warn that it is not over yet. NEDC continues to sue the EPA, now running their suit against the EPA’s rules revision of last November, and will continue to sue until they get their way or legislation is passed explicitly exempting forest roads from industrial runoff permits.
For more information and commentary, see: http://www.forestfoundation.org/blog-family-forest-owners-not-out-of-the-woods
The full text of the Supreme’s Court decision is here.
Pacific Legal’s amicus brief on the case is here. PLF AC Brf on the Merits in Sprt of Pet