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Judge Dumps Mindless Roadless Rule

Federal court throws out illegal
last-minute Clinton decree


July 15, 2003

Washington, DC - House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) applauded Federal Judge Clarence Brimmer's decision yesterday to throw out the "roadless rule" adopted during the last hours of the Clinton administration.

According to Judge Brimmer, "in its rush to give President Clinton lasting notoriety in the annals of environmentalism, the Forest Service's shortcuts and bypassing of the procedural requirements of NEPA has done lasting damage to our very laws designed to protect the environment."

"This decision is great news for those who support the rule of law and those who support common-sense land management plans," Chairman Pombo said.  "The Roadless Rule would arbitrarily fence-off land and throw away the keys.  This 'Don't Touch' management plan would also block recreation activities and prohibit critical maintenance to prevent catastrophic forest fires.  When has there ever been common sense or smart environmentalism in planning to do nothing?" 

"The decision of the Federal District Court to set aside the Roadless Rule is just and necessary," said Congressman Jim Gibbons (R-NV).  "The Roadless Rule Initiative introduced by then-President Bill Clinton would effectively lock-up our public lands and lock-out the American people.  It was a needless land grab that obviously circumvented Congress, clearly shut-out the public, and according to the Federal Court, ultimately violated the law."

Brimmer continued in his opinion to state that the Forest Service's designation of 58.5 million acres as roadless areas "was a thinly veiled attempt to designate 'wilderness areas' in violation of the clear and unambiguous process established by the Wilderness Act for such designation... In sum, there is no gainsaying the fact that the Roadless Rule was driven through the administrative process and adopted by the Forest Service for the political capital of the Clinton administration without taking the 'hard look' that NEPA required."

Interveners in the case that supported the Clinton Administration's mindless rule (the one that has done "lasting damage to our very laws designed to protect the environment") include the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

"Despite all of the previous administration's efforts to spin it another way, the Clinton roadless rule was bad for local economies, bad for the health of our forests and bad for the environment," said Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (R-WY).  "Worse, it could prove to restrict access for firefighters as we settle in for another difficult fire season. This was a poorly drawn and ill-conceived rule, and I'm glad it's been overturned."






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