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
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
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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