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U.S. Top Court Rules For Timber Industry Over Road Runoff

Publication Date: 
March 20, 2013
Source: 
Reuters
Author: 
Lawrence Hurley

 An email response by Professor Jeffrey Fisher is referenced in this Reuters article by Lawrence Hurley on the Supreme Court decision not to require Clean Water Act permits for stormwater that runs off logging roads and why Fisher believes the ruling has not "definitively resolved the issue." 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's long-standing decision not to require Clean Water Act permits for stormwater that runs off logging roads.

The nine-member court ruled on a 7-1 vote, with Justice Stephen Breyer recused, that the EPA's conclusion was a reasonable interpretation of the law.

The dispute - centering on two cases that the court consolidated - has attracted intense interest from the timber industry, which is keen to be exempt from Clean Water Act permitting. A total of 31 state attorneys general weighed in to support Oregon, which also opposes permitting.

...

The litigation over the Oregon roads is not over, however, because the environmental group plans to continue to challenge EPA's interpretation of the law, according to its attorney, Stanford Law School Professor Jeffrey Fisher.

Before the Supreme Court decided the case, EPA issued a new rule that made it clear that the agency did intend for logging roads to be exempt from the permitting process, but Fisher said that may not apply to all roads.

"We don't think the new rule has definitively resolved the issue," Fisher said in an email.