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The Roadless Rule
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Protecting America's National Forests, a report by the Heritage Forests Campaign

In This Section


" The Bush Administration's Efforts to Undermine the Roadless Rule

" Roadless Area Conservation Rule Timeline

" Roadless Litigitation Timeline

Roadless Rule Status

The Bush Administration and the Legal Battle Over the Roadless Rule

The timber industry and its allies have filed nine lawsuits in an effort to undermine the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Despite the Bush Administration’s failure to defend the rule, the 9th Circuit Court recently upheld the rule – effectively making it the “law of the land.”

Victory in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

On December 12, 2002, in a 2-1 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the American people when it lifted an injunction on the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The 9th Circuit Court ruled that the rulemaking process met all public participation requirements.

Click here to read excerpts from the 9th circuit ruling.

Bush Administration Failed to Defend the Rule

The Bush Administration failed to defend the rule in the 9th Circuit despite a promise from Attorney General John Ashcroft made at his confirmation hearing. In fact, the Bush Administration’s defense was so weak in the original case, their own arguments were cited by Judge Lodge in his ruling against the Bush Administration to impose a preliminary injunction preventing implementation of the roadless rule.

Click here to read about the politics behind the litigation.

Remaining Judicial Threats to the Roadless Rule

On January 21, 2003 a case brought forth by the timber industry and their allies in Wyoming, was heard and a ruling is expected soon. The Bush Administration has decided to defend the roadless rule in this case and in North Dakota, unlike in the 9th Circuit. The remaining cases have been delayed. Click here to view a summary of all the cases.

Need more details? Check out our Roadless Litigation Timeline
or our Roadless Area Conservation Rule Timeline

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