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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Roadless Rule Reinstated!

Roadless Rule Reinstated!

Date : 13th December 2002, Source : Reuters

Hey- Great news for old growth forests! -Jen

Court Clears Way for Clinton Ban on Forest Roads
Thu Dec 12, 3:19 PM ET

By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday reinstated a Clinton administration ban on road construction in nearly 60 million acres of U.S. forests, overturning a preliminary injunction obtained by Boise Cascade Corp.

The decision overturned a lower court ruling in favor of Boise Cascade, which is among many U.S. timber, mining and energy companies that oppose the roadbuilding ban.

"This is a huge victory for our last wild forests, but also for the 1 million people who supported this rule," said Tim Preso, a lawyer with Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, who had a copy of the decision issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club (news - web sites) went to the appeals court seeking to lift a May 2001 injunction issued by a federal judge in Idaho. The judge halted the Clinton plan at the request of Boise Cascade, saying the previous administration hurried the rule, skirted environmental rules and did not allow enough time for the public to comment.

The Clinton plan aims to prevent road construction and the removal of oil and lumber in 58.5 million acres of federal forest land, unless needed for environmental reasons or to reduce the risk of wildfires.

U.S. timber, mining and oil companies oppose the plan because they cannot move in heavy equipment without roads. It was issued just days before Clinton left office in January 2001.

The Bush administration was accused by environmental groups of failing to vigorously defend the road-building ban in the lawsuit.

On Thursday, a federal appeals court reversed the Idaho judge's ruling.

"Because of its incorrect legal conclusion on prospects of success, the district court proceeded on an incorrect legal premise, applied the wrong standard for injunction, and abused its discretion in issuing a preliminary injunction," the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in a 55-page decision.

Environmental groups and the Bush administration have clashed on other forest issues.

On Wednesday, the White House proposed to help prevent wildfires by making it easier to cut down the forest growth that fuels them. That move was criticized by activist groups who said logging companies would exploit the relaxed measures to commercially harvest timber under the guise of forest-thinning projects.

In November, the Bush administration unveiled a plan to give local forest managers greater control over commercial activities in federal forests, a policy that opponents said would skirt environmental rules designed to protect fish and wildlife.

Document last updated on Wednesday 01 August 2018

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