The U.S. Supreme Court will consider forest roads case on December 3

U.S. Supreme court justices will review a 2011 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that overturned 35 years of EPA Clean Water Act regulation of the logging industry on December 3.

The high court will decide between two theories of regulation: (1) the law tells states (as the EPA insists) to regulate runoff from logging roads via “Best Management Practices” (which are flexible, federally supervised standards tailored to local conditions, that activists cannot challenge in court); or (2) the law requires (as the Ninth Circuit says) “point source” permits usually reserved for factories, mines and chemical plants, and subject to court challenges.

Thirty-one state attorneys-general noted in their Supreme Court brief that, “Forestry practices in the United States are now conducted under the most comprehensive program of BMPs of any land use activity in the nation.”

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