December 4, 2012

White House, EPA Issue Premature Logging Roads Final Rule

Editor’s Note:  The Supreme Court was not amused by the surprise EPA rule.

From: American Forest & Paper Association

WASHINGTON – The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs today cleared the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule to clarify that Clean Water Act “point source” permits are not required for stormwater discharges from logging roads.

The decision comes on the heels of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and others asking EPA to wait until the Supreme Court has considered the case being heard on Monday, Dec. 3 that addresses the issues the agency attempts to address in this rulemaking.

“While AF&PA understands EPA’s goal in issuing today’s final rule, we maintain that any rulemaking in advance of a Supreme Court decision is premature,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.  “The Supreme Court could vacate the Ninth Circuit decision, alleviating the need for this rulemaking, or it could rule in a manner that requires EPA to further revise this rulemaking.”

EPA issued this rule in response to a Ninth Circuit decision (NEDC v. Brown) that the agency has said misinterprets a regulation exempting logging roads runoff from permitting; this type of runoff has been successfully regulated for 35 years through state best management practices that are adapted to local conditions.

“EPA’s rule is subject to further legal challenge.  This will only cause unnecessary legal expense and prolong the uncertainty for owners and users of these roads, causing disruption in the supply of fiber needed to make our industry’s products essential to everyday life,” said Harman.

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