Fighting unnecessary regulatory restrictions on forest road maintenance

Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center

Contact: Damien M. Schiff or M. Reed Hooper

Status: Victory! The U.S. Supreme Court issued a favorable decision on March 20, 2013. On November, 2013, the Enviros voluntarily dismissed their petition for review.

Northwest Environmental Defense Center sued the State of Oregon and several timber companies, alleging that they violated the Clean Water Act by discharging, as part of their forest road construction and maintenance, pollution requiring a federal permit. Oregon and the timber companies (plus the EPA as amicus) responded that forest road runoff is exempt from Clean Water Act permitting by federal regulation.

In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the regulatory exemption and ruled that forest road runoff is subject to Clean Water Act permitting. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in its upcoming term.

PLF submitted an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court not to ignore the severe negative consequences for timber harvesting and the economy that will result if EPA is forced to regulate forest road runoff as a discharge of pollution under the Clean Water Act.


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