Monday, October 1, 2012

Supreme Court Denies Hearing On USDA's "Roadless Rule"

Oct 1: U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by the State of Wyoming to review the legality of the so-called "Roadless Rule," environmental groups say protects approximately 46 million acres of pristine National Forest lands. Wyoming lost its challenge to the rule before the Denver-based Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2011 [See WIMS 10/24/11, WIMS 2/22/12].
    Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles who has worked to defend the Roadless Rule issued a statement saying, "For a decade, Earthjustice has opposed Wyoming's efforts to derail the popular Roadless Rule, which protects some of America's best National Forest lands. With the Supreme Court's denial of Wyoming's petition for review, there should no longer be any question about the Roadless Rule's legality.
    "The ten-plus years of our legal campaign to defend the Roadless Rule have seen many twists and turns in the legal process, but one thing hasn't changed -- the undeveloped forest lands at issue remain some of the most environmentally important public lands in our country. They produce clean water and clean air, offer a last refuge to imperiled wildlife across a warming, changing landscape, and provide world-class recreation opportunities for campers, hunters, hikers, fishermen, and bird watchers. Americans love these lands, and it has been an honor to represent those American values before the courts for the last decade."
    Jane Danowitz, of the Pew Environment Group said, "Today's Supreme Court action validates one of America's most important and popular land conservation policies. Without the national standard of protection the rule provides, millions of acres of America's last pristine national forests could be lost to logging and other industrial development." Pew indicated that the rule was issued to protect nearly 60 million acres, or roughly one-third of undeveloped Forest Service lands. It was the result of the largest public lands review in U.S. history, with more than 1.2 million comments and 600 public hearings. Pew also points out that according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report, national forests and grasslands sustain 223,000 jobs in rural areas. National forests are also the source of drinking water for about 124 million Americans in 900 U.S. cities.
    The Supreme Court order simply indicates that in two cases -- 11-1378 Wyoming v. USDA, and 11-1384 Colorado Mining Association v. USDA -- "The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied. Justice Alito and Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of these petitions."   
    Access a release from Earthjustice (click here). Access the Supreme Court order (click here, p. 71). Access a release from the Pew Environment Group (click here). Access USDA's Roadless Rule website for more information (click here). Access the complete 10th Circuit opinion (click here). [#MILand, #CA10]
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