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forest defense | save the biscuit

Roadless Rule Re-instated!

n a major, sweeping decision, a federal judge in California today reinstated Clinton-era protections of 58.5 million acres of national forests.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
FORESTS: Calif. judge reinstates Clinton roadless rule
Dan Berman, Greenwire senior reporter

Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco sided with four Democratic attorneys general and 20 environmental groups in reinstating the Clinton rule and throwing out the Bush administration's roadless petition plan. The Clinton rule put 58.5 million acres of national forest off-limits to roadbuilding, logging and other development.

Idaho Gov. Jim Risch (R) is scheduled to announce his state's roadless petition today along with Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, but it is unclear how Laporte's ruling will play out. "Defendants are enjoined from taking any further action contrary to the Roadless Rule without undertaking environmental analysis consistent with this opinion," Laporte said.

Forest Service spokesman Dan Jiron said the agency will review today's decision. "We still believe the state petition rule is a viable way to protect roadless areas."

The states, who filed their challenge last September (Washington joined this February), claim the Bush administration failed to conduct an environmental analysis of removing the Clinton roadless protections as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The state petition plan that provides no guarantees that a governor's wishes will be followed.

Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath (D) and Maine Attorney General G. Steven Rowe (D) have filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the plaintiffs.

Meanwhile, the environmental groups, who filed their suit in October, also charge the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service on the potential effects to threatened and endangered species of the roadless petition rule.

The Clinton rule was opposed by many Western Republican lawmakers and the timber and oil and gas industries who felt the rule was overly restrictive and arbitrary. The motorized recreation lobby also opposes a return to the Clinton-era standard and several groups have filed to intervene in the case on behalf of the federal government: the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, BlueRibbon Coalition, California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs and United Four Wheel Drive Associations. The Silver Creek Timber Co. has also intervened in the case (Greenwire, Aug. 1).
those snowmobilers, etc., 20.Sep.2006 13:52


ought to take up another living. I bet that they don't really like snowmobiling, etc. so much that they are willing to violate others (like addicts)--I bet that they just happened to have financial investments in those industries, and are too mentally limited to be able to envision doing something else. I bet they also do not want to look the fool, like someone who was "freewheeling and invincible (as I imagine someone in one of those vehicles likes to feel when they are destroying the forest and freestate), and they don't like the constraints of adulthood and civilization.
I have absolutely no sympathy for them. Our court systems should not be clogged up with their tempertantrums. Let them make a living doing something that has a net contribution to humanity, like the rest of us.

blackberry mikes gulch 20.Sep.2006 14:23

stop blackberry

Is there anyone coordinating an on-the-ground response, yet? I'm not sure it's possible to stop any more cutting, but it might be worth a try, particularly on Blackberry. The trees should be left on the ground, even if they are cut, as a monument to the absurd, illegal, wasteful destruction of our forests.

Thank you to the groups and individuals who have worked so hard on this issue already, and to those who developed this long-hoped-for legal victory.

If anyone is within range (I'm trying to decide, myself), now is the time to translate it to the ground.

Not out of the woods yet... 20.Sep.2006 16:54


Do understand that there's been no indication that logging at Mike's Gulch and Blackberry will stop. We should know more tomorrow, but there's a chance the Forest Service could continue to let the trees fall as we sort out the rather complicated legal picture for MG and BB.

Best case scenario: Forest Service decides to stop logging tomorrow
Second best case: Judge Laporte includes MG and BB in an injunction she's due to issue soon

Out of the woods, yet? 20.Sep.2006 17:27


Yes, the Dept. of Agriculture's sole response, to "study the ruling" before it will do anything, comes off with consistent administation arrogance and subservience to its corporate masters.

Are the states that petitioned for the ruling prepared to bring due dillegence and follow-up with demands that current projects cease immediately? Or will they, in the comity of government to government fraternalism and good relations, allow the respondents to milk what they want, in the cause of avoiding "undue burden"?

Perhaps someone can say whether or not this decision is merely a step along the way to a higher court. There appears to be no political prohibition on the adminsitration--none that it recognizes, anyway--preventing it from appealing this decision.

Proposed Mine at Goat Mountain also in Roadless Area 20.Sep.2006 19:15


At a meeting Monday night in Olympia, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire unveiled her intent to petition the Feds to re-instate the Roadless Rule for Washington.

Representatives of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest acknowledged that the mining lease proposal by Idaho General Mines of Spokane includes part of a Roadless Area north of Mt. St. Helens covered/uncovered by the Clinton Roadless Rule.

See mine story on this site.