The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) commends leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for inclusion of a provision in the Farm Bill conference report that helps preserve the treatment of forest roads as nonpoint sources using state-derived Best Management Practices (BMPs) under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
“We thank the cosponsors of the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (S. 971; H.R. 2026), the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture, and many others in Congress for supporting this common-sense provision that has enjoyed strong bipartisan support,” said Dave Tenny, NAFO President and CEO. “Now it's time to move the Farm Bill over the finish line with this provision intact and declare victory for rural jobs, outdoor recreation and the environmental benefits of well managed working forests.”
The provision is similar to the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA3) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR5). The Farm Bill provision provides legal certainty for federal, state, county, tribal and private forest owners by codifying the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 38 year policy that forest roads and other silviculture activities should not be subject to federal CWA permits used for factories and other industrial facilities, leaving in place the state BMP programs which have been a CWA success story. The provision also permanently protects forest owners from citizen lawsuits challenging compliance with any EPA measures addressing stormwater discharges.
“More than one hundred Members of Congress in 31 states from both sides of the aisle agree—private forests are good for our rivers and streams and should not be regulated like factories or drug through the litigation knothole. Final action on the Farm Bill will help ensure that our nation's forests and the people who manage them can continue their record of success as clean water stewards,” Tenny concluded.
NAFO is an organization representing private forest owners and managers committed to advancing national policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned working forests. NAFO membership encompasses more than 80 million acres of private forestland in 47 states, and working forests in the U.S. support 2.4 million jobs. NAFO seeks common sense policy solutions to sustain the ecological, economic and social values of forests and to assure an abundance of healthy and productive forest resources for present and future generations.