21 Jun 2009, 8:35pm
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin

Roadless Rule Enjoined — Again

On June 15th US District 10 Judge Clarence A. Brimmer reinstated his injunction against the Clinton-Dombeck Roadless Rule for the third time [here, here, here, here]. Technically speaking, he denied a USDA motion to suspend his previous injunctions, which has the same effect.

The motion had been made by the USDA and intervenor the Wyoming Outdoor Council in response to the suit (dating back to 2002) brought by the State of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association. The attorney representing the CMA, Harriet Hageman, wrote an excellent synopsis of the long-running case [here].

Judge Brimmer’s new ruling is clear and concise [here]. Some excerpts:

Once again this Court is faced with determining the validity of the 2001 Roadless Rule. On two different occasions this Court has held that the Roadless Rule is invalid as it was promulgated in violation of this nation’s environmental laws. …

The Court first turns to the Federal Defendants’ claim that to issue an injunction that conflicted with that of the California District Court was in error. This argument has already been heard and adequately addressed by this Court in its previous order. … It ultimately found “that issues of comity are not present in the current case.” …

Next, the Court turns to the Federal Defendants’ contention that the Court committed a clear error when it enjoined enforcement of the 2001 Roadless Rule nationwide rather than simply limiting it to Wyoming. … The Rule was enacted and enforced on a nationwide basis. … If the Rule is illegal, as this Court has found it to be, then it is illegal nationwide, just as it was enforced nationwide. … When the USDA and the Forest Service failed to comply with NEPA in promulgating the 2001 Roadless Rule, it put our nation’s forests, not just Wyoming’s forests, at risk. … As the Court noted at oral argument, destructive beetles do not heed state boundaries, neither do the devastating nature of forest fires. …

[T]he Court notes that it has twice decided that the 2001 Roadless Rule was promulgated in contravention of the nation’s environmental laws. The Court has been thorough and analyzed the administrative record numerous times, and found that the USDA and the Forest Service failed to perform their duties under NEPA and the Wilderness Act when they promulgated the Rule. …

[E]veryday that the Roadless Rule remains in effect is a day that our forests are at risk. …

[I]t is clear that the public interest lies in preserving our forests. The 2001 Roadless Rule, by violating the law, has failed to do this. Everyday that this Rule remains in effect, our forests are placed in a position of further peril. The Court, therefore, finds that WOC’s motion must be DENIED.

Again, we are grateful that Judge Brimmer understands the issue. Roadless designation precludes active management and restoration forestry that would protect, maintain, and perpetuate America’s priceless heritage forests. Lock It Up and Burn It Down is lousy stewardship; in fact, it is destructive of every forest value from wildlife habitat to watershed protection.

It is time, indeed past time, for radical environmental litigious groups (and the Obama Administration) to realize that their program of forest abandonment to catastrophic destruction serves nothing and no one, not even their own twisted political agenda.



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