EPA extends comment period for submitting information about programs that address stormwater discharges from forest roads

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was extending the public comment period for submission of information about existing programs that address stormwater discharges from forest roads. The notice, which appeared in the December 17, 2015 issue of the Federal Register (80 FR 78728 – 78729), extended the comment period from January 11, 2016 to February 12, 2016.

The solicitation of information is in response to an order issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in response to a petition filed by the Environmental Defense Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The petition asked the Court to compel EPA to respond, within six months, to a question remanded to the agency in a 2003 court case.

In that 2003 case (Environmental Defense Center v. US EPA, 344 F.3d 832), the petitioners had contended that EPA arbitrarily failed to regulate discharges from forest roads under the Phase II stormwater rule. Following execution of a settlement agreement in August 2015, the Court required EPA to respond to the petitioners’ contention by May 26, 2016.

As a result, EPA announced in November 2015 (80 FR 69653 – 69660) that it was soliciting information about “implementation and effectiveness of existing public and private programs, whether voluntary or legally binding and enforceable, in mitigating water quality impacts from stormwater discharges from forest roads.”

NCASI has a long history of developing and summarizing technical information on implementation and effectiveness of forestry best management practices, including those for forest roads. Thus, NCASI is currently compiling information about these topics for submission to EPA.


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