PLF applauds today’s U.S. Supreme Court logging roads decision


Bellevue, Washington, March 20, 2013: The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned the Ninth Circuit and held that rain runoff on logging roads is not “industrial pollution” that would require property owners to obtain Clean Water Act permits in order to use the roads.

Pacific Legal Foundation submitted an amicus brief urging the Court to decide as it did today.

PLF attorney Daniel A. Himebaugh, author of PLF’s brief to the Supreme Court, issued this statement today:

“The Court should be applauded for striking a blow for simple common sense.   The claim that rainwater on forest roads is ‘industrial pollution’ is a serious contortion of the Clean Water Act, and the Supreme Court was right to reject it decisively.  As a practical matter, a contrary decision would have created crippling and intolerable regulatory burdens for many property owners and small timber-harvesting businesses across the country.  They would have been subjected to an expensive, ambiguous, and lengthy federal permitting process in order to continue making reasonable, productive, traditional use of their land.   Moreover, creating a cumbersome federal regulatory scheme would have interfered with state regulations around the country that are tailored to local conditions and have been effective in controlling storm-water pollution.”

The case is Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center. Read a summary of the case and active documents on our website.