Regulators: Oregon logging rules don’t protect fish, water

The AP’s Jeff Barnard has the full story here. The opening few paragraphs, as well as a quote from the organization that brought the lawsuit, are below.

Federal regulators ruled Friday that Oregon logging rules do not sufficiently protect fish and water from pollution caused by clear-­cutting too close to streams, runoff from old logging roads, landslides and sites sprayed with pesticides.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service and the federal Environmental Protection Agency filed their decision in a long-running negotiation with Oregon over meeting the standards of the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program, a provision of the National Coastal Zone Management Program.

The ruling was triggered by a lawsuit filed by environmentalists.

Oregon is the first state cited for failing to meet the pollution standards since the program started in 1990. The state could lose access to some federal grants until the problems are fixed….

Nina Bell of Northwest Environmental Advocates, which won the lawsuit forcing the agencies to enforce the clean water standards, said the federal action was two ­decades overdue.

“The blame for this shameful disapproval can be squarely laid at the doorstep of Oregon’s forest practices law, the agencies and boards that do nothing to improve forest practices, and the logging industry that maintains a tight political grip on this state,” she said in a statement. “But as for who, honestly, can turn this around, well, it rests almost entirely with the governor.”

3 Comments

  1. How can that be? What about the BMPs that everyone seems to rave about? They’re not up to the job?

    Well, I’m sure that if and when we here in Idaho get State control over Federal forestlands, or else get them into NEPA-exempt trusts, things will be much different and better. Not.

  2. Oregon Administrative Rules stated that implementation of water quality restoration plans and best management practices was deemed compliance with water quality regulations for any forestry or agricultural activities on the Forest. The courts were confronted with a case where the agency was implementing best management practices and thus complying with the water quality regulations but there was also data showing actual violations of water quality standards. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was forced to remove those particular provisions from the water quality regulations in response to a lawsuit. Rather than submit the provision to EPA for approval, as the court required, DEQ simply removed it from the regulations. Now, forestry and agricultural activities on federal land are no longer deemed to be in compliance with water quality standards simply by implementing a water quality restoration plan or best management practices.

    • I thought that this applied to private lands in the state. The feds already have their own rules and if you think their lands aren’t in compliance then there is no hope for any of us.
      This is what happens when 98% of timber harvest and management takes place on the remaining 30% that is private forest land.

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