The legal tug-of-war over the fate of more than 50 million acres of roadless national forests continued today as a federal district court in Wyoming issued a decision blocking enforcement of a rule protecting these wild areas from roadbuilding, logging, and oil and gas leasing. The Wyoming decision potentially conflicts with the ruling of a different federal court in San Francisco holding that the protections of the Roadless Rule should stay in place.
The Roadless Area Conservation Rule was issued in January 2001 to protect the last remaining pristine areas of public national forest from development. In 2005 the Bush administration repealed the Roadless Rule but several states and 20 environmental groups successfully challenged the Bush repeal in federal court in California, reinstating its protections. The State of Wyoming asked the Wyoming court to enjoin the reinstated Roadless Rule.
In response to today’s ruling, Earthjustice, which represents the environmental groups in the Wyoming and California cases, plans to file an immediate appeal with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
“The American people have spoken again and again in favor of protecting roadless areas,” said Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles. “We’ll keep working to win permanent protection for these last wild areas of our national forests.”
Read the judge’s order (PDF)
Read the NYT article