On January 4, 2013, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center ("NEDC") filed a Petition for Review of U.S. EPA's recently promulgated final rule which clarified that stormwater discharges from logging roads did not require a NPDES permit under the Clean Water Act. As discussed in a prior post, in a case now pending before the United States Supreme Court, NEDC challenged U.S. EPA's prior determination that stormwater discharges from logging roads were properly characterized as non-point source discharges and/or were properly excluded from the industrial activity category that would otherwise require a NPDES permit. On the Friday before a Monday oral argument, U. S. EPA issued a final rule which specifically clarified U.S. EPA's intent that these logging roads were not subject to the NPDES permitting framework.
During oral argument, several justices seemed inclined to find that U.S. EPA's newly issued rule mooted the pending case in that it provided the relief that the petitioners were seeking before the Supreme Court. Although both the petitioners and respondents urged the high court to decide the matter, NEDC's recently filed Petition for Review was intended to preserve its ability to challenge U.S. EPA's final rule in the event that the Supreme Court declines to decide the issue. To see a copy of NEDC's Petition for Review, please click here.