By JEFF , Associated Press
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — 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 it the same as water running off a farm field, or start looking at it like a pipe coming out of a factory?
The case being heard Monday in Washington, D.C., was originated by a small environmental group in Portland, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center.
It sued the Oregon Department of Forestry over roads on the Tillamook State Forest that drain into salmon streams. The lawsuit argued that the Clean Water Act specifically says water running through the kinds of ditches and culverts built to handle storm water runoff from logging roads is a point source of pollution when it flows directly into a river, and requires the same sort of permit that a factory needs.