House Transportation Committee passes Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act

Last week NASF and others in the forestry community sent a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging consideration of HR 2541. Yesterday, the Committee passed the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (HR 2541), which was drafted in response to a May 2011 decision in the 9th Circuit that determined forest roads used for timber harvest on federal, state, tribal and private lands are “point sources” requiring special industrial discharge permits under the Clean Water Act.  The bill would overcome the Ninth Circuit’s decision by codifying EPA’s long-standing regulations governing forest roads and operations as nonpoint sources using state-developed Best Management Practices (BMPs).

The NASF Legislative Team is working with many others in the forestry community to explore opportunities to further advance the legislation through both chambers before the end of the 112th Congress.  The Supreme Court will review the Ninth Circuit decision with a final decision expected in the spring of 2013. EPA continues to move forward with their rulemaking (ahead of the end of FY12) to clarify in its stormwater regulations that a mandatory permit is not required for forest roads used for timber harvest. Their schedule regarding plans to further evaluate and address stormwater discharges from forest roads has not been determined.