Coalition Letter: Stabenow/Cochran/Lucas/Peterson - Support for Silvicultural Activities Legislation in the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (November 15, 2013)

Dear Chairwoman Stabenow, Senator Cochran, Chairman Lucas, and Ranking Member Peterson:

We write to express our support to retain without amendment the Silvicultural Activities provision in the final version of the Farm Bill, H.R. 2642 -- the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, in. The House of Representatives added this provision to the bill by unanimous voice vote. The provision is identical to bipartisan legislation, the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (H.R. 2026), introduced in the House by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Rep. Kurt Schrader and reported out by unanimous vote by the House Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure on October 29.

Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mike Crapo introduced companion bipartisan legislation in the Senate (S. 971.) The legislation is designed to codify the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) longstanding policy that forestry activities and forest roads are nonpoint sources under the Clean Water Act and are most effectively regulated by states through Best Management Practices (BMPs). In response to ongoing litigation which could have nationwide impacts on federal, state, tribal and private forestlands and thousands of rural jobs, the Silviculture Activities legislation would codify EPA’s 37-year-old Silviculture Rule, which is widely regarded as a Clean Water Act (CWA) success story. The legislation upholds Congress’s intent that ditches and culverts for managing stormwater runoff along forest roads are nonpoint sources under the CWA, regulated by states through their BMPs.

The legislation is needed to address a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that these roads are point sources under the CWA subject to EPA authority to regulate point source stormwater discharges. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decision in Decker v. NEDC in March 2013 only reversed part of the Ninth Circuit’s decision, thus leaving in place the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that forest roads are point sources. Section 12323 would restore the Agency’s 1976 determination that the specified silviculture activities are nonpoint sources and therefore not subject to regulation as point sources under the stormwater discharge program.

State BMPs for forestry are highly effective at maintaining water quality. Forestry experts, including the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, agree that point source regulations and permits will not improve water quality beyond the effectiveness of BMPs. To the contrary, point source regulation will impose billions of dollars of additional costs to federal, state, county and private road managers as well as exposure to citizen lawsuits that could jeopardize thousands of rural jobs and important water quality and forest health management goals. Additional cost and legal uncertainty could also force more private forestland into other land uses by making forestry uneconomical.

The silviculture provision also retains an amendment offered by Rep. Rick Larsen and accepted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in 2012. This amendment clarified that the provision only excludes the specified forest management activities from regulation as point sources and does not inadvertently exclude any point source activities currently regulated by EPA, such as gravel washing and rock crushing.

The bipartisan silviculture legislation will restore legal certainty, promote water quality, and protect jobs by preserving the EPA’s longstanding policy that such roads are nonpoint sources. We strongly urge your support to retain this bipartisan provision in the final version of the bill.

Alabama Forestry Association
Alabama Loggers Council
Alaska Forest Association
Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Forest & Paper Association
American Forest Foundation
American Forest Resource Council
American Hardwood Export Council
American Loggers Council
Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers
Archery Trade Association
Arkansas Forestry Association
Arkansas Timber Producers Association
Associated California Loggers
Associated Logging Contractors — Idaho
Associated Oregon Loggers
Association of Consulting Foresters
Association of Equipment Managers
Association of Oregon Counties
Biomass Thermal Energy Council
Black Hills Forest Resource Association
Boise, A PCA Company
Boone and Crockett Club
Bowhunting Preservation Alliance
California Forestry Association
Campbell Group
Catch-A-Dream Foundation
Colorado Timber Industry Association
Conservation Forestry Partners
Dallas Safari Club
Deltic Timber Corporation
Empire State Forest Products Association
Family Forest Foundation – Washington
Federal Forest Resource Coalition
Florida Forestry Association
Forest and Woodland Assn. of Missouri
Forest Industry National Labor Management Committee
Forest Investment Associates
Forest Landowners Association
Forest Landowners of California
Forest Resources Association
Forestland Group, LLC
Georgia Forestry Association
Georgia-Pacific LLC
Giustina Resources, LLC
Global Forest Partners LP
GMO Renewable Resources
Great Lakes Timber Professionals Assn.
Green Diamond Resource Company
GreenWood Resources, Inc.
Hancock Timber Resource Group
Hardwood Federation
Hardwood Manufacturers Association
Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association
Idaho Forest Group
Idaho Forest Owners Association
Indiana Hardwood Lumber Association
Intermountain Forest Association
Intertribal Timber Council
Irving Woodlands, LLC
J.M. Longyear, LLC
John Deere
Kentucky Forest Industries Association
Lake States Lumber Association
Langdale Company
Lone Rock Timber Management Company
Longview Timber LLC
Louisiana Forestry Association
Louisiana Logging Council
Louisiana Pacific Corporation
Lyme Timber Company
Maine Forest Products Council
Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association
Merrill & Ring
Michigan Forest Products Council
Michigan-California Timber Company LP
Minnesota Forest Industries
Minnesota Timber Producers Association
Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation
Mississippi Forestry Association
Mississippi Loggers Association
Mississippi Lumber Manufacturers Assn.
Missouri Forest Products Association
Molpus Woodlands Group
Montana Forest Owners Association
Montana Logging Association
Montana Wood Products Association
National Alliance of Forest Owners
National Assn. of Conservation Districts
National Association of Counties
National Assn. of Forest Service Retirees
National Assn. of State Depts. of Agriculture
National Association of State Foresters
National Association of University Forest
Resources Programs
National Hardwood Lumber Association
National Wild Turkey Federation
National Wood Flooring Association
National Woodland Owners Association
New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Council
New Hampshire Timberland Owners Assn.
North American Bear Foundation
N. Carolina Assoc. of Professional Loggers
North Carolina Forestry Association
North Carolina Tree Farm Program
Northeastern Loggers’ Association
Northern Arizona Loggers Association
Northwest Pulp and Paper Association
Ohio Forestry Association
Oklahoma Forestry Association
Olympic Resource Management, LLC
Oregon Forest Industries Council
Oregon Small Woodlands Association
Oregon Women in Timber
Palmetto Agribusiness Council
Partnership for Rural America
Pellet Fuels Institute
Pennsylvania Forest Products Association
Pheasants Forever
Pingree Associates
Plum Creek Timber Company
Pope Resources
Port Blakely Tree Farms, LP
Potlatch Corporation
Professional Logging Contractors of Maine
Pulp & Paper Resource Council
Quail Forever
Quality Deer Management Association
R.D. Merrill Company
Railway Tie Association
Rayonier Inc.
Red River Forests, LLC
Regions Timberland Group
Resource Management Service, LLC
Ring Family LP
Ruffed Grouse Society
Shasta Forests Timberlands, LLC.
Sierra Pacific Industries
Small Woodland Owners Assn. of Maine
Society of American Foresters
South Carolina Forestry Association
South Carolina Timber Producers Assn.
Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assn.
Starker Forests, Inc.
Stimson Lumber Company, Inc.
Superior Pine Products Company
Tennessee Forestry Association
Texas Forestry Association
Timber Products Company
Timberland Investment Resources
Tread Lightly
Treated Wood Council
Vermont Woodlands Association
Virginia Agribusiness Council
Virginia Forest Products Association
Virginia Forestry Association
Virginia Loggers Association
Wagner Forest Management
Washington Contract Loggers Association
Washington Farm Forestry Association
Washington Forest Protection Association
Washington State Association of Counties
Wells Real Estate Funds
West Fork Timber Company
West Virginia Forestry Association
Western Hardwood Association
Westervelt Company
Weyerhaeuser Company
Wildlife Management Institute
Wildlife Mississippi
Wisconsin County Forests Association
Wisconsin Paper Council
Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association

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