As reported in the Oregonian newspaper, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is taking a strong stand against enforcing the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act in order to protect the timber industry from having to address air and water pollution associated with some of their operations.
Wyden has introduced legislation to overturn an Oregon court decision which says that when clean water and salmon streams are being sullied with polluted runoff from logging roads, it requires a permit under the Clean Water Act and action by landowners to address the pollution and fix their roads to better protect water quality. The case stems from heavily used logging roads in Oregon’s Tillamook State Forest which discharge polluted water directly into key salmon streams. Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader has introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.
According to a July 1 letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency to Members of Congress, the decision applies to forest roads primarily used for logging and which discharge stormwater through ditches, culverts or channels directly in streams and rivers. Roads in particular have been found by EPA to contribute up to 90 percent of the total sediment load from forestry activities. The Sierra Club and 24 other organizations issued a statement opposing Wyden’s ‘dirty water’ legislation last week.
Wyden’s other legislation is meant to delay implementation of the Clean Air Act for industrial incinerators and boilers, which spew particulate matter into the air that harms public health. While Wyden is seeking a multi-year delay of implementation of the long-awaited rules in order to protect biomass boilers from regulation, his legislation broadly exempts the burning of many toxic materials from the Clear Air Act for years to come. The Sierra Club first brought suit to enforce the Clean Air Act on polluting boilers a decade ago.
Please email Senator Wyden TODAY to protect the Clean Water Act and send a message that you oppose his unprecedented attacks on two of our nation’s bedrock environmental and public health laws. Also, please contact his offices in Washington, DC at 202-224-5244, or in Portland at 503-326-7525.