U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Oregon Decision That Could Have Required Logging Road Permits

In a seven-to-one decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned an Oregon federal appellate court ruling that could have required EPA permits for forest logging roads on grounds they are connected to industrial stream pollution.

The landmark decision by the nation’s highest court gave high marks to state-administered Best Management Practices (BMP) as an effective means of protecting the nation’s water and forest resources, citing Oregon as an example.

“The EPA’s decision (that forest logging roads don’t require permits) exists against a background of state regulation with respect to storm water runoff,” the Supreme Court decision said.  “The State of Oregon has made an extensive effort to develop a comprehensive set of best practices to manage storm water runoff from logging roads…Indeed, Congress has given express instructions to the EPA to work ‘in consultation with state and local officials’ to alleviate storm water pollution by developing the precise best management practices Oregon has established here.”

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