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Obama Delays Implementation of Stormwater Regulations for Forest Logging Roads

December 21, 2011

Regulation of stormwater runoff from forest logging roads has been delayed due to recent action by President Obama. This is the most recent development in the on-going discussion of whether federal Clean Water Act permits are required for stormwater runoff that flows from logging roads.

Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit ruled that ditches, culverts and channels found on forest roads used to collect and discharge stormwater are point sources that must be regulated under the Clean Water Act. The decision requires the Environmental Protection Agency to devise a permitting process for ditches, culverts and channels for forest roads on both public and private lands. Earlier posts addressed the decision and the Oregon Board of Forestry’s appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

Presumably in response to concerns about the potential impacts of the decision, President Obama attached the rider to the 2012 omnibus spending bill. The rider bars the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring a permit through the end of the September 30, 2012.

According to the Oregonian, delayed implementation was supported by both Republicans and Democrats, including Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Kurt Schrader.

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