A federal appeals court Tuesday decided that mud washing off logging roads is pollution and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to write regulations to reduce the amount that reaches salmon streams.
A conservation group that filed the lawsuit said if the ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stands, logging roads on federal, state and private lands across the West will eventually have to be upgraded to meet Clean Water Act standards.
"Those roads historically have gotten a free pass," said Mark Riskedahl of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center in Portland. "This is not rocket science. There are some very low-cost, low-maintenance steps folks can take to remedy this problem."
The center had sued the Oregon Department of Forestry over sediment washing off two logging roads on the Tillamook State Forest in northwestern Oregon.