Nearly 50 million acres of America’s most pristine public forest lands remain protected today, thanks to a decision this afternoon by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denying a last-ditch effort by the State of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association to overturn the U.S. Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Rule, more commonly known as the Roadless Rule.
The Latest On: Roadless Rule
As fall turns to winter, President Obama has continued his virtually unbroken streak of bending over backwards for the coal industry in the West. For those who love Western public lands and could do without more subsidies to Big Coal, Mr. Obama has been more Grinch than Santa.
<In a major victory for Earthjustice and its supporters, today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated The Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 50 million acres of National Forest lands against exploitation. Tom Turner, who literally wrote the book ("Roadless Rules") on the case, provides some background here.>
Perhaps inspired by the triple-digit heat afflicting Washington D.C., the House of Representatives is putting legislative flames to our important environmental and public health protections.
The Environmental Protection Agency found much room for improvement when it weighed in on the Forest's Service environmental impact statement that analyzes a proposed rule to weaken protection for roadless lands in Colorado.
The long and winding saga of the Roadless Rule, adopted in the Clinton administration after an exhaustive public process, just took a new turn, though it smacks of desperation.
To recap, the Roadless Rule was put in place to protect 58.5 million acres of undeveloped and otherwise unprotected land on the national forests. The rule has been subject of nine lawsuits. An appeals court in Denver has yet to rule on a lawsuit out of Wyoming; the others have concluded with the Roadless Rule still standing.
Colorado is the most populous, developed state in the Rocky Mountain West. Despite all the cities and towns, highways, oil rigs and second homes, about 4.4 million acres of roadless national forest remain. And that’s in addition to the 3 million-plus acres of existing wilderness.