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Obama Administration Supports the Roadless Rule

Obama Administration Supports the Roadless Rule

Last week the Obama administration said it will defend the 2001 rule by former President Bill Clinton that blocked road construction on millions of acres of national forests. The Obama’s administration’s filed its decision in a Wyoming case in 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. The Roadless Rule, issued by the U.S. Forest Service, affected 58 million acres of national forests in 38 states and Puerto Rico. 

The court’s decision affirmed a 2006 District Court ruling in California that reinstated the Roadless Rule after former President George W. Bush gutted it in 2005. The 9th U.S. District of Appeals, in its decision last week, said Bush’s additions “had the effect of permanently repealing uniform, nationwide, substantive protections that were afforded to inventoried roadless areas.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, said, “The Obama administration supports the conservation of roadless areas in our national forests, and this decision today reaffirms the protection of these resources.”

“We are grateful that the Obama administration is upholding and honoring the commitment of the president to uphold and enforce the 2001 roadless rule,” said Kristen Boyles, a lawyer for the environmental group Earthjustice. The latest filing “shows that the Obama administration is going to stand behind the need for nationwide roadless protection,” Boyles said.

“This is a very positive, exciting development, because a favorable ruling in the 10th Circuit (Court of Appeals) would end the legal assault on 40 million acres of our roadless forests,” said Mike Anderson, a Seattle-based attorney and senior resource analyst for The Wilderness Society. “Having the Obama administration on our side in this important case adds to our optimism that the 10th Circuit will dispel any further doubts about the legality of the 2001 rule.”

Paul Turcke, who the BlueRibbon Coalition, predicted that the roadless “saga will continue.” He added, “I think it is unlikely this will end the litigation,” because a Wyoming case that challenges the Roadless Rule could result in another federal appeals ruling.

“It’s up and down like a yo-yo,” said Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council. “It seems to be bouncing from one court to the other.”

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Mike Anderson, a senior resource analyst with The Wilderness Society in Seattle.

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20 comments

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2:20PM PDT on Aug 27, 2009

This is the first thing that BO has done that I am very glad he has done and that is a fact.

5:08PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

Uh, I get the impression that some of you writers don't understand that this roadless rule business is to keep the logging trucks out so the logging companies can't cut the trees on our public land and sell them for private profit. This has nothing to do with building highways thru pristine wilderness areas. This is about preserving habitat for wild creatures.
A certain group of people have wanted to cut the trees , drill for oil and mine for minerals while paying a mere pittence for leases and they've been trying to get their grubby little hands on puplic land for decades.They tend to be Republicans, but it's basically an attiude that will hide even among environmental groups. They care nothing for people, animals or the planet. They will deny everything and turn every thing around. I actually read that "The insurence companies are subsadizing the government" acording to one of these denial spirits. He was refering to the health care thing of course. Don't confuse them with people who are learning and growing who often have true changes of mind and heart.

2:15PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

Myself and any thinking person who has spent any time at all in wilderness either personally or even via environmental and/or travel films KNOWS that roadless/protected areas must be expanded greatly - not cut back let alone cut into. As to cars themselves here in the USA:
"Cash for Clunkers" = already defunded & in the wastebasket; I was reminded of laws in Germany whereby autos manufactured must be fully recyclable, also putting new engines in older-model cars is common & affordable there. So as to why we have no such programs here - the only "excuse" here is GREED - the flipside of STUPIDITY.

11:45AM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

almost every one in the family are Chevy people alll the way from Silverado trucks to Equinox auto(one of the best on the road) You can get a lemon in any thing that is produced.The greed and speed ups by the millionaire CEO's and out sourceing has caused the auto crisis.So Wagoner got fired and is laughing all the way to the bank.Big deal....

9:42AM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

Kudos to Mr. Wuth! Overpopulation and greed seems to be the name of the game, and that's it in a nutshell. God bless Mr. Obama for this bit of legislature, but I hope he cracks down on the wolf killers.

9:30AM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

More people require more space. Larger spaces create need for more vehicles, which in turn move on more roads. So, the root of the problem lies in the number of people. The day will come, when either wars, dictators, pandemics, or comets will put an end to unregulated population growth.

8:55AM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

This is just good common sense! Thank you for taking the road less traveled, President Obama.

8:54AM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

Everyone wave goodbye to George Dubya and his rampaging ways. Now does this mean that the forest killers will be kept out of the Tongass? Let's hope this ruling prevents the further gutting of that beautiful, pristine area.

7:45AM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

"This is a good thing", as Martha would say.
The protection of wilderness is a challange that can never be ignored. Respect for Nature is what helps keep our counties alive and in balance.
"Thanks" President Obama!!

7:39AM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

I am puzzled by Judy Velsor's comment about Toyota clunkers. If US auto manufacturers could make vehicles even half as reliable, durable, and efficient as Toyota and Honda, they wouldn't have needed any bail out. I try to buy American, but when it comes to what I drive, the environment and my budget come first.
I voted for Obama because the alternative was truly terrifying, but many of his choices have disappointed me. However, I do feel great relief at having the roadless rule upheld.

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