U.S. Supreme Court to hear Georgia-Pacific case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could affect the bottom line of numerous lumber suppliers with timberlands in the United States.

Georgia-Pacific, along with the American Forest and Paper Association, is asking the nation’s highest court to overturn a 2011 ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court involving rainwater runoff from logging roads. The Ninth Circuit said that forest road operators in the states under its jurisdiction will be required to obtain Clean Water Act discharge permits, which would be a new requirement. Environmentalists, concerned about the effect on wildlife from built-up sediment in rivers and streams, considered the ruling a victory. But the forestry industry appealed the decision by the three-judge panel, arguing that rain runoff from forest roads is not the same as discharges from industrial sources such as factories and mines.

The Ninth Circuit governs Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case this fall.