Supreme Court To Decide If Logging Road Runoff Is Pollution

Jun 25, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal in a case that asks if the muddy water that flows from logging operations is industrial pollution.

Clean water advocates from the Northwest had won the case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court found that logging operations needed to get permits for runoff into streams.

The State of Oregon and several timber companies filed an appeal. They said logging roads were exempt from storm water regulation. 26 states signed onto the appeal. And Congress and the EPA began re-writing regulations.

Paul Kampmeier is an attorney with the Washington Forest Law Center, which helped argue the case. He says the Supreme Court may be trying to bring some clarity to the situation.

Kampmeier: “It’s not totally a surprise that they would take the case to look at whether pipes ditches and channels along logging roads require permits if they are discharging polluted stormwater.”

Oral arguments in the case haven’t been scheduled yet. But the supreme court will go back into session in October.

Copyright 2012 Oregon Public Broadcasting