Will EPA regulate forest road stormwater runoff?


Author:  Damien M. Schiff

Earlier this year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown, overturned the EPA's longstanding Clean Water Act regulatory exemption for stormwater runoff from forest roads.  PLF filed two amicus briefs in the case on behalf of industry groups that are rightly concerned with the potential and significant negative impact that the court's ruling will have.  The groups' principal concern is that, without EPA's exemption, millions of miles of forest roads in the country will be immediately out of compliance with the Clean Water Act, subjecting their owners to thousands of dollars in liability.

Not surprisingly, a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court is being prepared.  But also of note:  the New York Times reports that a bill has been introduced in Congress that would legislatively reinstate EPA's exemption.  And the bill has already garnered bipartisan support.  This may be one of those rare instances where the only group that is interested in expanding EPA's authority is the enviromentalists.