On October 1 the Supreme Court declined to hear a petition from Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association to overturn the Clinton-era Roadless Rule that prohibits most roads and logging across 45 million acres of National Forests. The plaintiffs claimed that the rule violated The Wilderness Act by allowing the Forest Service to create de facto wilderness areas, since the law states that only Congress can designate wilderness areas.
The plaintiffs were appealing last year’s decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the Roadless Rule and overturned the findings of US District Judge Clarence Brimmer, who considered the rule an overreach of executive branch authority. A 2009 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision also upheld the Roadless Rule, so the decision by the Supreme Court was not seen as a surprise by legal experts.
The state of Alaska is currently challenging the application of the Roadless Rule to The Tongass National Forest in a related case. Alaska is appealing the 2011 decision from the US District Court for the District of Alaska that threw out a 2003 Bush-era exemption for the Tongass.
Source: E&E Publishing (Greenwire October 1, 2012)