The Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protects 58.5 million acres of national forest land, was repealed by the Bush adminstration, and in May 2005, replaced by a state-by-state petition process.
In September 2006, Judge Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco declared the petitions rule illegal and reinstated the Roadless Rule nationwide, except for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Two years later, Judge Brimmer reissued his moratorium declaring the Roadless Rule illegal throughout the country. But the following year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed protection for over 40 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from new road building, logging, and development.
On October 21, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Wyoming district court, upholding the Roadless Rule and vacating the prior injunction.
A federal court struck down the final challenge to the roadless rule in the United States, ensuring protection from development and logging for nearly 60 million acres of land across the United States. The judge ruled that Alaska’s challenge came too late under the statute of limitations, and the decision follows previous futile attempts by Idaho and Wyoming to revoke this essential environmental protection policy.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today ended a challenge by the state of Alaska against a nationwide Clinton-era rule protecting tens of millions of acres of roadless forest lands from logging and road building.
The Alaska case was the final litigation challenging the rule nationwide. The court held that no further challenges are allowed, because the statute of limitations has run out.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Wyoming’s challenge to the national roadless rule which protects 50 million acres in national forests across the country. The court ruling upholds the roadless rule’s prohibition of harmful activity such as drilling and mining on the designated land, and allows logging only for the purposes of preventing wildfires.
"We're glad the Supreme Court put the final nail in the coffin of Wyoming's case," Tim Preso, an attorney with the environmental law firm Earthjustice.