The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal to President Clinton’s Roadless Rule, which was aimed at conserving 58.5 million acres of national forest lands. An appellate court decision that upheld the rule will stay in place.
The Roadless Area Conservation rule, also known as the Roadless Rule, prevents construction and logging on untouched forest areas. The state of Wyoming and the mining industry had challenged the rule.
Steve Pedery is the conservation director at Oregon Wild. He says the Roadless Rule has helped conserve undeveloped forestland.
“Places where we still have really pristine backcountry areas that don’t have roads in them, that don’t have a long history of logging, or mining, or other heavy development are pretty rare,” Pedery says.
A spokesman for the Colorado Mining Association said he was disappointed with the decision because many industries need access to the land.
By The Numbers
Washington: National Forest System Lands: 9,214,000 acres Inventoried Roadless Areas: 2,015,00 acres
Oregon: National Forest System Lands: 15,658,000 acres Inventoried Roadless Areas: 1,965,000 acres
Idaho: National Forest System Lands: 20,458,000 Inventoried Roadless Areas: 9,322,000
President Bill Clinton passed the rule in 2001, days before his term ended. The rule has faced challenges from logging, mining, farming and oil groups.
Most of the protected areas are in the Western United States. Idaho and Colorado opted-out of the rule. Idaho became the first state in the nation to create its own standards, followed by Colorado. This Supreme Court decision will not change either states’ rules.