Saturday, August 15, 2009

Obama administration takes legal action to uphold roadless rule

Proposed coalbed methane wellpad in a stand of old-growth ponderosa pine, HD Mountains Roadless Area of Colorado. (Photo by Mudspringcreek)

DENVER, Colorado, August 13, 2009 (ENS) - The Obama administration today appealed a Wyoming federal district court ruling that struck down the national roadless rule. The appeal will go to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, issued just a few days before the end of the Clinton administration, protected 58.5 million acres of America's pristine roadless national forest lands from new road building and timber harvesting.

The appeal filed today is a response to the 2008 ruling by a federal district court judge in Wyoming, who invalidated the roadless rule nationwide. Judge Clarence Brimmer issued a permanent injunction against the rule, saying it violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wilderness Act.

Judge Brimmer's order already has been appealed by environmental groups. Now, the federal government, a defendant in the case brought by the State of Wyoming, is also appealing it.

The Wyoming case is the last gasp of a decade of litigation by conservation groups and states seeking either to protect or to harvest the roadless national forest lands.

Last week, in a lawsuit brought by 20 environmental groups and four states, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the original Clinton-era roadless rule across the country.

That decision overturned a Bush-era U.S. Forest Service rule that required governors to petition the federal government for protection of roadless areas on national forests in their states.

The 58.5 million acres originally protected under the roadless rule have now shrunk to 40 million acres. …

Obama Administration Takes Legal Action to Uphold Roadless Rule

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