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Environmental and Natural Resources Law

NEDC’s Logging Road Pollution Case featured on front page of the Oregonian

December 03, 2012

The Oregonian featured a story on NEDC and Lewis and Clark students involvement in a logging road pollution case which will be argued in the Supreme Court today.

” Seven rainy springs ago, Mark Riskedahl and student volunteers from Lewis & Clark’s law school visited the Tillamook State Forest to snag samples of muddy water washing into streams from roads used by logging trucks.

They succeeded: Their samples from the Trask and Kilchis rivers showed water “turbidity” from road runoff ranging from 34 to 971 times background levels, a potential threat to wild coastal coho on the endangered species list and to other fish.

“There was chocolate brown muddy water suddenly entering an otherwise clear stream,” says Riskedahl, executive director of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center at Lewis & Clark.

They also stirred up a national fuss.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments stemming from the lawsuit Riskedahl’s group filed against Oregon’s Department of Forestry and four timber companies after the sampling results came in.

The legal issue is whether – as Riskedahl and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals contend – Clean Water Act “point source” permits should be required for active logging roads, just like they are for factories and feedlots, if the roads divert sediment-laden water into streams. Regulators have treated logging roads as non-point sources since the act passed in 1972”

Read the entire Oregonian story at the following link:

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