MEDFORD, Ore. – An environmental ruling is being called a good move for the timber industry. The Environmental Protection Agency has clarified that water runoff from logging roads does not require special permits.
Leaders in the timber industry say it’s a ruling that allows logging work to continue without more red tape, but the battle between the timber industries and environmentalists may not be over yet.
Earlier this year, environmental groups filed a lawsuit, saying the water runoff from logging roads should be considered pollution and covered under the Clean Water Protection Act. Timber groups fired back that any runoff into culverts or streams was not harmful. As the Supreme Court was set to get involved, the EPA tried to clarify things.
The agency said any water runoff on logging roads did not require special permits. The Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association says it likes the ruling. They said the process of obtaining special permits for any runoff would only limit logging and cut down on jobs.
“It’s huge. Every time you need a permit to go across any culvert or ditch coming out of the mountains, it would be very cumbersome, it would be very difficult,” said Dave Schott with the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association.
Environmental groups have said the chemicals from logging trucks are swept into surface water and harm salmon. This rule by the EPA has complicated how the Supreme Court gets involved in this dispute. Arguments have been delayed so that the high court can prepare again for the case.