Judge Reinstates the Clinton-Era Roadless Rule

Feature story - September 20, 2006
A huge victory has been won for America's forests, as a federal judge in California reinstated nearly all of the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. The Bush administration had gutted the plan that protects 58.5 million acres of national forest.

"Today, we feel that justice is being served and the voices of the American people are finally being heard with the reinstatement of these protections," stated Greenpeace Executive Director John Passacantando .

Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco sided with the Governors of New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, the State Attorney of California, and 20 environmental groups, including Greenpeace, and reinstated the Clinton rule thereby throwing out the Bush administration's roadless petition plan.

The Clinton rule put 58.5 million acres of national forest off-limits to road building, logging, and other development. In 2003, the Bush administration exempted America's largest national forest, the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, from the rule, and the administration later gutted the Roadless Rule nationwide. The litigation addressed both actions. Today's court order reinstated the Roadless Rule, but exempted the Tongass National Forest.

"Regrettably, one of our most pristine areas, the Tongass National Forest in Alaska remains unprotected even with this decision," stated Passacantando.

"The Bush administration's effort to gut forest protections has been made without consideration of ecology, economics, biology, cost to communities, or common sense, but Greenpeace will continue to fight for its protection."

Approximately 2.5 million Americans commented on the Roadless Rule after it was proposed in 1998. More than 95 percent of these people supported the proposed ban on new road building in our largest tracts of undeveloped forest.

Read the decision from Judge Laporte here.
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