Supreme Court will review NEDC v. Brown

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on June 25 that it will review a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in NEDC v. Brown that logging roads are “point sources” requiring NPDES permits for industrial stormwater discharge. The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case this fall or winter with a decision expected in late spring or early summer of 2013.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision in NEDC v. Brown has caused great concern among forest managers and state forestry agencies because it has potential to impose high costs on forestry operations while doing little to improve water quality. Since 1976, EPA regulations have interpreted the Clean Water Act (CWA) to define forest roads and most silvicultural activities as “nonpoint” sources. The forestry community has made enormous progress in controlling its nonpoint sources through application of state Best Management Practices.

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