August 6, 2009

Road construction blocked on 40 million acres

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Road construction in at least 40 million acres of pristine national forests was blocked by a federal appeals court Wednesday, overturning decisions by the state of Wyoming and a federal judge in Cheyenne. The decision reinstates most of a 2001 rule put in place by President Bill Clinton just before he left office that banned commercial logging, mining and development on about 58 million acres of national forest in 38 states. A subsequent Bush administration rule had cleared the way for more commercial activity, writes Matthew Daly of the Associated Press. The ruling is in line with decisions by other Western states and environmental groups that sued the Forest Service after it reversed the RoadlessRule in 2005. But both timber interests and environmental groups say uncertainty remains because of a separate case pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where environmentalists are seeking to overturn a decision by a Wyoming federal judge overturning the Clinton roadless rule.

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