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Justices Affirm Water Agency’s Authority In Pacific Lumber Case

San Francisco, CA — State water control authorities have the power to order logging companies to monitor the quality of runoff water.

That´s according to a unanimous ruling by the California Supreme Court today. The high court said that even when the California Department of Forestry approves a logging plan, the Water Resources Control Board can later demand that logging companies monitor the quality of runoff around the logging site.

Scotia-based Pacific Lumber claimed it did not have to do the monitoring because the forestry department did not make the request when it approved a harvesting plan in 2001.

But the Supreme Court said the water agency had the power to intervene. The case involved about 700 acres of redwoods, which PacificLumber already logged in Humboldt County along the Elk River Watershed.

The company complied with the water monitoring order, but went to court in a failed effort to block the water agency from intervening in future projects.