EPA Seeks to Ease Rules on Muddy Runoff From Logging Roads

EPA Seeks to Ease Rules on Muddy Runoff From Logging Roads

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The Obama administration wants to change the rules applying to stormwater running off logging roads, blunting a landmark court ruling that found the muddy water running into salmon streams and reservoirs should be regulated like industrial pollution.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed notice in the Federal Register proposing to revise stormwater regulations to say hundreds of thousands of miles of logging roads on private and public lands nationwide don’t need the same kinds of permits that factories must get. Some of the roads are paved, but most are graveled, and some are bare dirt. Instead, they would be regulated under a less stringent system known as “Best Management Practices,” where authorities set up guidelines for the design and maintenance of logging roads to minimize erosion that sends mud into rivers.

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