WATER POLLUTION:

Mud from logging roads pollutes salmon streams, court rules

Mud washing off unpaved logging roads and flowing into salmon streams constitutes pollution, and U.S. EPA should write regulations to control it, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

If the ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stands, the logging roads on federal, state and private lands in the West will have to be refurbished to meet the Clean Water Act standards.

The Portland-based Northwest Environmental Defense Center had sued the Oregon Department of Forestry for sediment washing into streams from two roads in northwest Oregon.

The panel found that the sediment runoff exceeded Clean Water Act limits and should be regulated by EPA as industrial pollution.

The ruling applies to the states of Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Montana (Jeff Barnard, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 17). -- GV

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