Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) today applauded the United States Supreme Court's overturning an earlier Ninth Circuit Court decision to upend more than 35 years of Clean Water Act protection. Before the Supreme Court's 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.
Schrader and Herrera Beutler have led a bipartisan coalition opposing the Ninth Circuit Court's onerous decision and the resulting "forest roads rule." Last Congress, the representatives introduced legislation 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 leaves forest landowners, businesses and state and local governments vulnerable to new lawsuits and unlimited regulations from the federal government.
"This commonsense Supreme Court decision upholds the long-standing policy of allowing our states to manage forest roads as they know best," said Rep. Schrader. "The next step in the process is for Congress to affirm this ruling with legislation to codify in law that forest roads are indeed non-point sources of pollution. I look forward to continue working with my Pacific Northwest colleague Rep. Herrera Beutler to pass the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act in Congress and provide certainty and great opportunity for our state and local governments, as well as our private forest landowners."
"The Supreme Court decision is very good news for workers, small businesses, and communities throughout Southwest Washington -- but we're not in the clear just yet," said Rep. Herrera Beutler. "Until we've put clear protections into law, forest roads are still susceptible to job-killing 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."