"All Americans can now know that a key part of our nation's natural heritage won't be destroyed."
— Earthjustice Attorney Tim Preso
On October 21, 2011, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited decision, affirming the validity of the 2001 Roadless Rule and securing critical legal protections for nearly 50 million acres of pristine National Forest lands.
Earthjustice has led the legal defense of the Roadless Rule since the first attacks by logging and resource extraction interests and the Bush/Cheney administration.
Against all odds, this critical legal work has kept the Roadless Rule alive and prevented the destruction of our national forests' last great wild places.
The nearly 60 million acres of forest areas protected by the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule provide vital habitat for 1,500 wildlife species, safeguard drinking water supplies for 60 million Americans, and ensure quality recreation for millions of hikers, fishermen, and hunters.
These areas provide some of the last remaining strongholds for grizzly bears, wolves, elk, salmon, and trout.
The 2001 Roadless Rule was the product of the most comprehensive rulemaking process in the nation's history, including more than 2 million comments from members of the public, hundreds of public hearings and open houses, and a detailed environmental review.
The rule came under relentless attack by logging and resource extraction interests, certain states, and the Bush administration. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on October 21, 2011, reversing a lower court decision, and joining the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the validity of the Roadless Rule.
· Related Website: USDA Roadless Area Conservation Home
"Road construction in national forests can harm fish and wildlife habitats while polluting local lakes, rivers, and streams. The Roadless Area Conservation Rule—which was made on the basis of extensive citizen input—protects 58.5 million acres of national forest from such harmful building. I will be proud to support and defend it."
— Sen. Barack Obama
League of Conservation Voters Candidate Questionnaire
"[Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's decision to review all logging and road construction in national forest wildlands] is a welcome reprieve, but it is only a first step. These areas need the complete and permanent protection that President Bill Clinton had in mind when he signed the so-called roadless rule in 2001."
— Editorial, The New York Times (June 3, 2009)