US Supreme Court Denies Appeal Challenging Roadless Rule

October 2, 2012

The US Supreme Court will not hear an appeal challenging the federal roadless rule that bans mining, logging and other commercial development from some of the country’s most prized forests. KUNC’s Kirk Siegler reports the action announced yesterday is being praised by conservation groups and criticized by the mining industry.

The Colorado Mining Association joined with the State of Wyoming in asking the high court to consider their appeal of a 10th Circuit ruling last year that upholds the 2001 Roadless Rule. The issue has been at the heart of a see-saw legal battle ever since President Clinton enacted it before leaving office. Jane Danowitz hopes Monday’s Supreme Court action is a signal that the issue is finally settled. She’s director of public lands for the Pew Environment Group.

"Without the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, America’s last undeveloped national forests could be imperiled by logging, mining and other industrial activities."

Conservation groups have long fought to keep the national rule intact, and many also fought Colorado’s state-specific Roadless Rule which has just been finalized. Colorado opted to write its OWN plan which allows for some development into previously protected forests, namely for coal mine expansions.

"That is the silver lining in this."

Stuart Sanderson, president of the Colorado Mining Association, says Colorado’s Roadless Rule will allow coal mining to continue to flourish at least in this state. The CMA and the state of Wyoming argued that the national roadless rule created de-facto wilderness without the consent of Congress.