Over the past several weeks, we’ve had several questions from our supporters and other members of the public about NEDC v. Brown, the recent Ninth Circuit case involving logging road pollution and water quality.  Working with our client, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center , and the fantastic attorneys at the Washington Forest Law Center, we have pushed on the timber industry to clean up their act and reduce pollution coming off of logging roads, which smothers spawning beds and sets back salmon recovery across the west.  Instead of working with local communities to clean up their act, the timber industry is now trying to change the law so they can be exempt from the Clean Water Act.  We need your support to make sure they don’t succeed!

Since the Ninth Circuit issued its final unanimous decision this past May, a number of developments have taken place.  First, both the timber industry and the State of Oregon announced that they will ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit decision.  As a first step, they must file a “petition for certiorari” requesting that the Supreme Court accept the case for review.  We expect those petitions to be filed in September, and Crag will then be working with our partners on a response defending the decision.  The Supreme Court only accepts a limited number of cases for review, and the timber industry and the State will have to convince the Court that this should be one of those limited cases.

Second, Senator Wyden (D – Or) has co-sponsored a bill that would exempt the timber industry from the permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act.  Industry has tried to convince anyone and everyone that the sky is falling in the form of a CWA permit program that has already been applied to most other industries in the country.  In response, we have been working with a coalition of organizations to clarify the contours and operation of the Clean Water Act program, which has proven to be an efficient, transparent and reliable way to protect our natural resources for more than 30 years.

The case has also generated substantial media over the past several weeks.  To learn more, you can read a sample of that coverage:

1)            The Oregonian story on Sen. Wyden’s bill;

2)            An editorial from the Oregonian regarding the bill; and

3)            A response that I co-authored with Bill Bakke, Executive Director of the Native Fish Society and Jim Lichatowich, fisheries biologist and author of Salmon Without Rivers – A History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis.

Finally, we also recently sent out an e-mail blast to our supporters asking for their help as we move the work forward.  We’re a small organization working on a shoestring budget, and we depend on the generous support from individuals that believe in Crag’s mission of protecting our natural resources for future generations.  Please consider making a gift to help with our work, and rest assured that we will continue to defend the public’s interest in clean water and our iconic runs of native salmon and steelhead.