The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal to the so-called Roadless Rule. The law bans development on nearly 60 million acres of national forest land.
Since its enactment in early 2001, the Roadless Rule has drawn fire from Western states and industry groups -- most recently the state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association. Now, an appellate decision that upholds the rule will stay in place.
Steve Pedery is with conservation group Oregon Wild. He says the Roadless Rule has helped conserve undeveloped forestland.
Pedery: “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.”
A spokesman for the Colorado Mining Association said he was disappointed with the decision because many industries need access to the land.
Idaho opted-out of the rule and became the first state in the nation to create its own standards. This Supreme Court decision will not change Idaho’s rules. An environmental attorney says the Idaho standards likely will be the next challenged in court.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio