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Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Announcement from the Hardwood Federation
EPA announced today that they have decided that no additional regulations are needed to address storm water discharges from forest roads under the Clean Water Act (CWA) at this time. The action provides final certainty for businesses that make use of forest roads eliminating concerns about additional federal regulations.
In their decision, EPA noted that state, federal, regional, tribal government, and private sector programs already exist nationwide to address water quality problems caused by discharges from forest roads. Many of these programs have been improved and updated in recent years. Program implementation rates are generally high and have been shown to be effective in protecting water quality when properly implemented. These programs employ a variety of approaches that are tailored to address regional and local differences.
EPA has concluded that efforts to help strengthen existing programs would be more effective in further addressing forest road discharges than superimposing an additional federal regulatory layer over them.
In 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit directed EPA to provide an appropriate rational for any decision not to regulate storm water discharges from forest roads. Today’s decision by EPA satisfies that order.
In 2014, Congress included in the final Farm Bill a provision that forest roads and forest management continue to be regulated through state Best Management Practices (BMP) under the CWA. This action ended litigation that began in an Oregon district court in 2006. Today’s decision by EPA aligns the agency with the 2014 congressional action.
EPA anticipates the final notice will be published in the Federal Register in early July 2016.
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