If the Supreme Court declines to review it, a recent ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will put federal courts into the business of managing every acre of privately owned timberland in America. Farmers beware. You could be next. In May, the 9th Circuit determined that rainwater draining from forest roads into local streams, rivers and lakes is “point source pollution.” As such, it must be regulated in the same way effluent from sewage-treatment plants is regulated. To make a long story short, rainwater that accumulates alongside logging roads has become a new target of environmental litigators. Several lawsuits were filed within days of the 9th Circuit’s decision.
Many Americans don’t know that drainage ditches and culverts don’t pollute water.
No matter – the judges seem to think that even rainstorms need to be regulated by the EPA.
The new administrative burdens the 9th Circuit decision puts on landowners and federal and state government is staggering.
Word is that the Supreme Court will decide on Friday whether it will hear this case. Here’s hoping it does. The court might take the occasion to ask why the Court of Appeals found it necessary to overturn 35 years of regulatory precedent.