U.S. Supreme Court to hear forest road runoff case

June 25, 2012 | By BRIAN HODGES

Good news from the U.S. Supreme Court today!  The Court announced that it will hear two cases dealing with the treatment of forest roads under the Clean Water Act in its upcoming term.  The question the Court will address is whether rainwater running off forest roads must be regulated as point source pollution, making forest roads subject to extensive federal permitting requirements.  In the opinion below, the Ninth Circuit held that forest roads should be regulated under the federal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System.  As we highlighted in our amicus brief supporting the petition for certiorari, putting 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 land owners with little, if any, environmental benefit.

The cases are called Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Georgia-Pacific West, Inc. v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center.  The petitioners’ briefing on the merits will be due in August, as will PLF’s amicus brief.

For more on this case, see my op-ed for Capital Press and this post.