Western Governors strongly support this week's decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that no additional regulations are needed to address stormwater discharges from forest roads under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Western Governors sent comments on Feb. 12, 2016, to EPA in response to the agency's request for Information on Existing Programs That Protect Water Quality From Forest Road Discharges. The comments, which highlighted the federally-recognized authority of states to manage and allocate water within their boundaries, asserted that “EPA should leave the management of stormwater discharges from forest roads to the states, unless otherwise determined by a specific state."
In announcing the decision on its website, EPA wrote: "State, federal, regional, tribal government, and private sector programs already exist nationwide to address water quality problems caused by discharges from forest roads ... Program implementation rates are generally high and have been shown to be effective in protecting water quality when properly implemented.
"EPA has concluded that efforts to help strengthen existing programs would be more effective in further addressing forest road discharges than superimposing an additional federal regulatory layer over them."
The agency anticipates the final notice will be published in the Federal Register in early July 2016.