A new comprehensive alert from Rogue Riverkeeper on logging road pollution can be found HERE.
This urgent alert was sent to us by our friends at the Washington Forest Law Center: They are requesting immediate help to get a disastrous rider from being attached to any FY 2012 Appropriations bills. Two excellent and comprehensive fact sheets providing more details on the issue can be found HERE.
Congress is considering amending the Clean Water Act to give timber companies a brand new exemption from NPDES permit requirements. The amendment might (would probably) overturn the recent decision won in NEDC v. Brown, about storm water discharges from logging roads, a huge win for fish and water quality in Washington and throughout the west.
We really need your help on this today—in fact now.
Please, if you can, call Patty Murray or her staff and ask her to talk with Harry Reid about keeping this rider out of upcoming funding bills. She previously committed to doing this and we her to follow through. And we need your help to make that happen.
Senator Murray's DC office number is: (202) 224-2621
Or if you can’t call, you could also email:
We also need you to let Norm Dicks know he should not support this.
Thanks in advance!
Paul Kampmeier, Staff Attorney
Washington Forest Law Center
615 Second Avenue, Suite 360
Seattle, Washington 98104-2245
Phone: (206) 223-4088 x 4
Fax: (206) 223-4280
Section 438: Weakening the Clean Water Act Rider– Would amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) to create a loophole for the timber industry, exempting it from pollutant discharge permit requirements for silvicultural activities. For nearly forty years the CWA has improved and protected the quality of water in this country; this rider would take a chunk out of the CWA as a gift to a special interest. This loophole would prevent both the EPA and delegated states from utilizing one of the Act’s most powerful tools to protect water quality on both public and private forested land. (According to the Forest Service, 66 million Americans’ water comes from National Forests alone. In addition, water sources and many aquatic species are affected by the 154 million hectares of private forest lands). A federal court recently confirmed that the CWA does not allow an exemption of roads used for timber harvest from the Act’s point source permit requirement designed to protect clean water.
This rider is a knee-jerk reaction to this decision that would prevent states and the EPA from using permits to control water pollution caused by a broad suite of timber industry activities all over the country – including but not limited to discharges of stormwater directly to streams from roads. Not only has this rider received no public hearing, it is too broad and it doesn’t address the real issue created by the court decision: how do we reduce forest road-derived point source pollution in a way that works for the timber industry and protects our nation’s valuable water resources? Instead, this exemption would allow discharges associated with a broad suite of timber management activities to proceed regardless of impacts to water, including most importantly those associated with roads. Roads are a leading threat to water quality in forested areas because they collect sediment-laden runoff that degrades water quality and alters hydrology to increase the threat of flooding. These effects can be severe, which is why the EPA and states require discharge permits for other types of industrial activities with similar impacts, including state highways, municipal stormwater, mining, and oil and gas drilling.