For Immediate Release
Beginning of the End of Attempts to Eliminate Roadless Rule?
Obama administration files appeal in 10th Circuit
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration today filed a legal appeal in the U.S. 10th
Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado that could mark a pivotal moment in the more
than eight-year effort to protect some 58 million acres of pristine national
forests. The move is a response to the 2006 ruling by a federal district court
judge in Wyoming
who invalidated the popular 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
is a very positive exciting development because a favorable ruling in the 10th
Circuit would end the legal assault on 40 million acres of our roadless
forests," said Mike Anderson,
a Seattle-based attorney and senior resource analyst for The Wilderness
Society. "The American people have stood up for protecting these forests
time and time again, opposing every effort by the Bush administration and
timber industry lobbyists to knock them down. Having the Obama
administration on our side in this important case adds to our optimism
that the 10th Circuit will dispel any further doubts about the legality of
the 2001 rule."
Anderson also commended President Obama and his
administration for instructing the Department of Justice to appeal the 2006
Obama has repeatedly made good on his campaign promises to protect our
undeveloped national forests," Anderson
said. "He clearly recognizes that roadless forests play a vital role in
providing recreational opportunities for people, protecting habitat for wildlife,
and providing a defense against global warming."
forests have been on a hot streak this year. Last May, Agriculture Secretary
Tom Vilsack issued an interim directive that requires his approval of any
potentially destructive road building or mining projects on roadless forests.
On Aug. 5, The Wilderness Society and 19 other environmental organizations,
along with four western states, notched
a huge victory when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco affirmed protection for almost
40 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from new road
building, logging, and development.
fate of the roadless rule has been caught up in the federal courts and the
politics of changing presidents for almost a decade. The Clinton administration originally adopted the
rule after an environmental review that included 600 public hearings and over
1.6 million public comments; however, the Bush administration actively colluded
to get rid of it. Despite these efforts, and due to deep public support for
roadless area protection, only seven miles of roads were built and 535 acres of
trees logged in roadless areas since 2001.
Since 1935, The Wilderness Society has led the conservation movement in wilderness protection, writing and passing the landmark Wilderness Act and winning lasting protection for 107 million acres of Wilderness, including 56 million acres of spectacular lands in Alaska, eight million acres of fragile desert lands in California and millions more throughout the nation.