2014 Farm Bill Resolves NPDES Permit Controversy Over Stormwater From Logging Roads

Published Feb 18, 2014

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642) was signed by President Obama on February 7, 2014. The bill contains an amendment to the Clean Water Act regarding silvicultural activities, reinforcing that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is not required for stormwater runoff from logging roads.

As we posted in our news story in 2013, in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and a companion case, Georgia-Pacific West v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that stormwater runoff from forest roads is not a “point source” of water pollution requiring a permit under the Clean Water Act. The new law eliminates any remaining uncertainty regarding EPA’s Silviculture Rule.  EPA policy and regulation has emphasized state-supervised best management practices (BMPs) as the preferred method of controlling stormwater runoff from logging roads.  For more information, contact James Tupper at tupper@tmw-law.com.

  • To view Section 12313 of the Farm Bill regarding Silvicultural Activities, click here.
  • To view the Agricultural Act of 2014  in its entirety, click here.