Today, the United States Supreme Court overturned an earlier Ninth Circuit Court decision that upended more than 35 years of Clean Water Act protection. Before today's Supreme Court ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court's decision would have required the dirt and rock runoff from forest roads to be treated the same -- and require the same permitting -- as industrial parking lots.
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) have led a bipartisan coalition opposing this onerous decision and resulting "forest roads rule," introducing legislation last Congress that would have maintained the Clean Water Act protections. However, since that time the Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that forest roads are "point sources" of pollution which still leaves forest landowners, businesses, and state and local governments vulnerable to new lawsuits and unlimited regulations from the federal government.
"The Supreme Court decision today is very good news for workers, small businesses, and communities throughout Southwest Washington -- but we're not in the clear just yet," said Jaime. "Until we've put clear protections into law, forest roads are still susceptible to job-killing federal regulations that simply aren't necessary to protect our forests and waterways. I'll continue leading efforts to preserve the Clean Water Act protections alongside Congressman Kurt Schrader, and preserving healthy ecosystems and a healthy economy."
"I applaud today's Supreme Court decision which upholds the EPA's long-standing policy of managing forest roads as non-point sources under the Clean Water Act," said Schrader. "The next step in the process is for Congress to affirm today's ruling with legislation to codify in law that forest roads are indeed non-point sources. That's why I look forward to continue working with my Pacific Northwest colleague Rep. Herrera Beutler to reintroduce the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act to provide that certainty for our state and local governments as well as our private forest landowners."