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UM News
February 21, 2013


A recent U.S. Supreme Court case implicating forest roads as sources of pollution will be highlighted in “The Clean Water Act on Trial,” a Plum Creek Distinguished Lecture Series seminar hosted by The University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation. The free public event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the University Center Ballroom.

The seminar will highlight key elements of the case, which was argued before the Supreme Court in December. The case claimed that forest roads are point sources of pollution and unregulated under the Clean Water Act. Invited speakers will discuss how the local economy, ecosystems and recreation opportunities may be impacted by a decision in this case.

The morning session, held from 9 a.m. to noon, will address the legal dimensions of the case and includes speakers Michelle Bryan Mudd, UM associate professor of law and director of Montana’s Land Use Clinic, presenting an overview of the case; Chip Murray, vice president for policy and general counsel of the National Alliance of Forest Owners, presenting arguments put forth by the petitioners; and Christopher Winter, founder of Crag Law Center, providing arguments from the plaintiff’s side.

A forestry implications panel from 1 to 3 p.m. will discuss how logging roads and water quality currently are addressed and how that may be changed by the case ruling. Panelists include Brian Sugden, a forest hydrologist with private forestry company Plum Creek, speaking about how roads and streams interact ecologically; Bruce Sims, a regional hydrologist with the U.S. Forest Service, providing a federal perspective on the current efforts and possible future of logging roads in maintaining water quality; Rob Olszewski, vice president of environmental affairs for Plum Creek, providing insight into how private forestry may be affected by the case ruling; and George Mathieus, administrator of permitting, prevention and assistance for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, presenting the state perspective.

Each session will be followed by a Q-and-A with the audience. Lunch will be provided for those attending the daylong event.

For more information call Andrew Larson, UM assistant professor and Plum Creek Committee chair, at 406-243-5532 or email; or email UM student and Plum Creek Fellow Eryn Schneider at


NOTE TO MEDIA: A press conference with all the speakers will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in UC Room 331.


Western Montana


Contact: Andrew Larson, assistant professor and Plum Creek Committee chair, UM College of Forestry and Conservation, 406-243-5532,