- Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) - https://www.wildcalifornia.org -

EPIC & Allies Petition State Water Board to Step In Over Elk River Mess

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) has made an even bigger mess of the situation in Elk River by failing to revisit and revise sediment pollution waste discharge permits for Green Diamond and Humboldt Redwood Company in the watershed as directed by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board).

To add insult to this injury, the Regional Board continues to allow Green Diamond and Humboldt Redwood Company to enroll Timber Harvest Plans under the old permits while it continues to kick-the-can down the road on the required revisions.

In May 2016, the Regional Board adopted a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Upper Elk River Watershed designed to address logging-related sediment impairments chocking the watershed and endangering the lives, health, and safety of Upper Elk River residents. The Load Allocation, or amount of additional sediment pollution from human-caused activities acceptable under the TMDL was set at zero, after a 2015 Technical Sediment Analysis (Tetra Tech 2015) found that the Upper Elk River had no further capacity to intake and assimilate sediment pollution.

On August 1, 2017, the State Board ratified the Upper Elk River TMDL adopted by the Regional Board. In doing so, the State Board clarified its understanding of the TMDL zero Load Allocation and directed the Regional Board to ensure attainment of zero new logging-related sediment input as soon as possible, but by no later than 2031. To accomplish this, the State Board also directed the Regional Board to revise and update the sediment pollution waste discharge permits for Green Diamond Resource Company and Humboldt Redwood Company as soon as possible, but by no later than January 2019.

With no revisions done to the sediment pollution waste discharge permits and no certainty of an end to this in sight, EPIC and our allies took action and filed a Petition [1] for Review with the State Water Resources Control Board that included a Motion for Stay of the current Green Diamond and Humboldt Redwood Company permits in the Upper Elk River, and a Request for Hearing before the State Board. Upon hearing, and finding that the Regional Board failed to act, EPIC and our allies are asking the State Water Board to take up the matter of revising the HRC and Green Diamond permits and to take this away from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Both HRC and Green Diamond filed suit against the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board over its adoption of the Upper Elk River TMDL for Sediment, and this lawsuit has been cited by Regional Board staff as a reason for the delay in required sediment pollution waste discharge permits.

The State Water Resources Control Board has 90-days in which to respond to our Petition and to decide if it will hold a Hearing.

Click here for press release. [2]

Click here to read the petition. [1]