It’s abut time this happened. The North Fork dodged this bullet (so far). However, other regions downstream from British Columbian coal operations have not been so lucky . . .
In a joint June 13 letter to British Columbia Premier John Horgan, a bipartisan slate of senators from all four states bordering the coal-rich Canadian province is pressing its top official to recognize the urgency of safeguarding U.S. waters from mining pollutants spilling downstream into shared transboundary watersheds.
In the latest and most authoritative appeal for Canadian officials to adopt more stringent water-quality standards, all eight senators from Alaska, Montana, Washington, and Idaho drafted a letter highlighting the ongoing efforts to mitigate the environmental and economic impacts resulting from large-scale hard rock and coal mines in British Columbia, as well as to draw attention to B.C.’s regulatory shortcomings surrounding natural resources shared by the neighboring nations.
“While we appreciate Canada’s engagement to date, we remain concerned about the lack of oversight of Canadian mining projects near multiple transboundary rivers that originate in B.C. and flow into our four U.S. states,” the letter states.
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The issue of how the EPA should regulate logging roads comes up before the Supreme Court this Monday . . .
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to switch gears on more than 30 years of regulating the muddy water running off logging roads into rivers.
At issue: Should the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency keep considering that muddy water the same as water running off a farm field, or start looking at it like a pipe coming out of a factory?
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Platoons of lawyers and all three branches of government are weighing in on this one . . .
Do logging roads create water pollution, or just carry it?
The question has triggered a case of dueling government branches and left many in the woods, both industry leaders and environmental activists, anxious to see what happens.
“It’s an on-the-ground nightmare,” said Loren Rose of Seeley Lake’s Pyramid Mountain Lumber. “It would bring a lot of things to a screeching halt.”
The federal Clean Water Act specifically says farm and ranch roads are not a “point source” of water pollution and don’t need a special permit for construction or maintenance. Forest roads never got a similar exemption. But for decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not considered logging roads a water pollution source.
That started to change last year, when an Oregon lawsuit made it to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the judges ruled the Clean Water Act should come down hard on logging roads. That case is now headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, which hears oral arguments on Dec. 3.
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