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Supreme Court gives timber industry victory against environmentalists

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

The Supreme Court sided with the timber industry against environmentalists today in a ruling that loggers do not need a special Environmental Protection Agency permit because of gravel and dirt that can fall from logging roads into waterways.

The decision overturned a lower-court ruling that the runoff is the same as other industrial pollution and therefore requires a permit under the EPA’s Clean Water Act, according to Fox News.

The timber industry said it would cost millions of dollars to get a permit for every logging site, and could even put the industry out of business.

Environmentalists argued that the regulations would not impose a heavy administrative burden, and that logging runoff hurts salmon spawning, Forbes reported in November.

But even the EPA disagreed with the lower-court ruling and recently changed its rules related to logging runoff, placing it in the same category as runoff from a farmer’s field and not industrial pollution.

The consolidated cases in the decision are Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Georgia-Pacific West, Inc. v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center.

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