The national forest 'roadless rule' may have reached the end of its journey. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the original rule is back in place, tossing out the Bush administration decision to repeal the protections for about 60 million acres nationwide.
More than three million acres of national forests in Wyoming are part of that tally. Jane Danowitz with Pew Environment Group says backers of the original rule are now looking for an official declaration from the White House, and some say Congressional action may be needed to stop the lawsuit cycle.
The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, based in Laramie, was one of the groups that challenged the Bush administration repeal of the rule. Spokesperson Sarah Egolf says the benefits reach beyond recreation.
The Obama administration called a “time out” in June on development activity in roadless areas pending court decisions and further review of the issue. Opponents of the rule still say it unfairly limits forest activities, and there are some that question whether the court’s ruling has implications for states, like Wyoming, outside the Ninth Circuit.