The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled the Environmental Protection Agency's silviculture rule invalid. The groups explain in their brief that Congress decided in its 1987 Clean Water Act amendments that stormwater from agriculture and forestry "has always been intentionally excluded from federal permit requirements," Farm Progress reports. The groups say the logging shouldn't be considered an industrial activity, which means its stormwater discharges must be approved under the EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
American Farm Bureau General Counsel Ellen Steen said Congress has never allowed EPA to mandate particular forestry practices because Congress "has always recognized that stormwater runoff from these activities . . . is best left to state and local authorities." (Read more)