|Posted by nationalforestlawblog on August 20, 2010 at 5:23 PM|
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a rather sweeping ruling. In Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown, the Court held that the logging roads constitute a pollution "point source," thus triggering the Clean Water Act's permit requirements. This reversed the trial court that had ruled that any runoff from a logging road constituted storm runoff that was exempt from CWA permitting. You can read more at Courthouse News Service and view the decision here.
As if environmentalists have not driven the costs of logging high enough, this will only add yet another regulatory hurdle for the timber industry. Where exactly is the environmental harm here? I posit that the entire burden of proof needs to be re-examined. Instead of allowing environmentalists to take pot shots at speculative environmental harm, they should have the burden to prove it before any permits are required or environmental analyses required.