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Indybay Feature
Wed Feb 1 2006
Supreme Court Rules for Water Quality, Against Pacific Lumber
Court says Palco's interpretation of water quality law "makes no sense."
In a unanimous and unambiguous decision, the California State Supreme Court has ruled against the Pacific Lumber Company, determining that the Forest Practices Act in no way limits the authority of the State and Regional Water Boards to impose additional requirements on approved Timber Harvest Plans. The decision upholds a previous ruling against Palco by the State Court of Appeals.

According to the decision, "Pacific Lumber's position boils down to the view that the Forest Practice Act implicitly precludes the Water Boards from exercising their authority under the Porter-Cologne Act to impose monitoring requirements (on an approved THP.) Section 4514, subdivision (c) expressly provides that the contrary is true, that the Forest Practice Act in no way limits the Water Board's authority in this respect."

Remarking on some of Palco's arguments, the ruling states "This interpretation makes no sense." The ruling goes on to say "Pacific Lumber's construction also ignores the obvious meaning of the directive that "[n]o provision of this chapter" will limit the power of a state agency. We take the phrase "no provision" to mean what it says, that nothing within the Forest Practice Act. implicitly bars the Water Boards from fulfilling their independent obligations."

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