EPIC, et al. v. Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, et al. (Logging Exemptions from the Clean Water Act)

EPIC, et al. v. Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, et al. (Logging Exemptions from the Clean Water Act)

2004

Case Number: 04CS00347

EPIC is leading an effort to eliminate the logging industry’s broad exemption of the state Clean Water Act. This exemption poses serious threats in the Central Valley region, where the water source for more than two-thirds of California’s population originates. Despite this importance, clear cutting in the region has increased by more than 2,500 percent in the last ten years.

Legislation passed in 1998 established a January 1, 2003 sunset date for this exemption, but the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board voted to adopt a new one–claiming that it has no potential to cause adverse environmental impacts. EPIC filed suit on April 30, 2003 to overturn this exemption, charging the Regional Board with violations of the California Environmental Quality Act (case no. RG03094218). EPIC also prepared and filed an administrative appeal on the Central Valley Regional Board’s decision with the State Water Resources Control Board, showing that the exemption is harmful to water quality and contrary to the public’s interest.

We agreed to delay our case until the State Water Board decided our appeal, and filed a stipulated dismissal in September 2003 that entitled us to challenge violations under CEQA irrespective of any statute of limitation. In February 2004, the State Water Board ruled against EPIC’s appeal, and we re-filed the case on March 18, 2004, adding the State Water Board as a defendant. EPIC and co-plaintiffs were represented in this lawsuit by Earthjustice Legal Defense.