Regarding the August 12, 2008 Federal Court Decision on the “so-called” Clinton Roadless Rule

The Snowmobile Alliance of Western States (SAWS) applauds the recent federal Court decision enjoining the U.S. Forest Service from implementing the so-called “Roadless Rule” imposed by the Clinton Administration in violation of federal law. That rule, which the court found created de-facto Wilderness Designation for over 58 million acres of forests, prohibited any development or road building in designated forests. Federal Court Judge, Clarence Brimmer, found that the manner in which the nation-wide ban on development was implemented violated several environmental laws and prevented the Forest Service from properly managing its forests on a local basis.┬á

A copy of the full 201 page decision can be found on our website at the following link:

This decision is the latest in a long legal battle over the validity of the Clinton/Gore roadless rule, and is similar to a 2003 decision issued in a case filed by the State of Wyoming which challenged that rule. An appeal of the 2003 decision was dismissed because the Bush administration had issued its own rules for roadless areas. The Bush rules were struck down and the Clinton/Gore Rule was reinstated by a 2006 decision issued by a magistrate sitting in the U.S. District Court located in Northern California. That decision, however, gave new life to WyomingÔÇÖs lawsuit which resulted in this latest development

While the roadless rule did not explicitly prohibit the use of snowmobiles in the designated areas, it had a significant impact on the types of activities the Forest Supervisors were permitted to allow under Forest Management Plans. This decision should put the management of our forests, and the creation of Forest Management Plans, back where we believe it belongs, with the local Forest Supervisors. It is too early to know exactly how this decision will impact Forest Management Plans that were created under the guidelines of the roadless rule, but we at SAWS believe it will allow for more local input from those impacted by the Management Plans.

While this decision has already been appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge BrimmerÔÇÖs decision makes it clear that it should be implemented immediately to reduce the potential threat of beetle infestations and forest fires posed by the roadless rule.

***This information is being provided for educational purposes only.  It should not be considered legal advice or a substitute for legal advice in any matter***

Steven B. Smith, Esq.
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States

Copyright ┬® 2008 Snowmobile Alliance of Western States. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to┬ádistribute this information in whole or in part, as long as Snowmobile Alliance of Western States (SAWS) is acknowledged as the source.┬á

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