Federal appeals court upholds Roadless Area Conservation Rule, protecting 50 million acres of national forest land
[Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club]
In a landmark ruling on October 21, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado ruled that the Roadless Area Conservation Rule (approved initially during the Clinton administration in 2001) is legal, overthrowing a lower court ruling in Wyoming. The Roadless Area Conservation Rule prohibits new road construction and development in national forest roadless areas (of which there is nearly 50 million acres). Although the ruling will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court (so nothing is absolutely final yet), the ruling has been celebrated here at Black Diamond as a huge victory for the protection and preservation of the environment and recreation areas we hold so dear.
The ruling was hailed by conservation groups and outdoor industry companies around the country, as well as U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell, but was immediately questioned by extraction industry companies and groups, such as the Colorado Mining Association. The Obama administration has said it will uphold the recent ruling, and, in a written statement, Tidwell noted, "These areas are vital for protecting watersheds, and providing recreation, hunting and fishing opportunities."