The U.S. House voted today to enact a key protection for national forests, adopting a bill that prohibits new roadbuilding and logging in roadless areas: lands subject to the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. This Roadless Rule provision — which seeks to protect a key land-conservation measure previously targeted by the Trump administration — was included in the adoption of the “Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act,” legislation combining 48 previously introduced bills on related issues.
Earthjustice, a legal nonprofit that has for decades gone to court to defend national forests from logging and roadbuilding, issued the following statement in response:
“Today marks a milestone for protecting and upholding the Roadless Rule, which has proven to be one of our most important conservation tools,” said Earthjustice attorney Kate Glover. “Today’s vote is a win for our cherished national forests, and a win for wildlife, clean water, and the millions of people who find peace and wellbeing in the wild areas that belong to everyone. This vote will bolster Indigenous communities whose traditional ways-of-life depend on intact ecosystems. It will also help us address climate change, as federal forestlands are responsible for sequestering vast amounts of carbon emissions — and are simply worth more standing.”
Most recently, Earthjustice filed litigation to defend the Roadless Rule from a Trump-era attempt to gut the rule in Alaska, part of a bid to expand logging in the Tongass National Forest.