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Ninth Circuit Court Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte ruled today that the Bush administration unlawfully repealed the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. The ruling puts the National Roadless Rule back into affect in at least the states covered by the Ninth Circuit Court, but it is unclear if the ruling applies to other states. Today's ruling basically reaffirms a September 20, 2006 decision by the same court, but that has been under various appeals ever since.

Roadless Rule Upheld, Again

Ninth Circuit Court Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte ruled today that the Bush administration unlawfully repealed the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. The ruling puts the National Roadless Rule back into affect in at least the states covered by the Ninth Circuit Court, but it is unclear if the ruling applies to other states.

The Ninth Circuit covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. However, Idaho will be unaffected by the ruling because it’s the only state to approve its own roadless rule.

Today’s ruling basically reaffirms a September 20, 2006 decision by the same court, but that has been under various appeals ever since.

“It has been a complex process,” explains Joel Webster, roadless coordinator for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, “but this is a big milestone. It’s certainly a big victory for roadless conservation and the hunting and fishing that’s enjoyed in those areas.”

In the opinion, Laporte agreed with a long list of plaintiffs that the roadless rule offered more protection for roadless lands than national forest plans and that it was “unreasonable” for the Forest Service to say the repeal of the rule did not affect endangered species and critical habitats.

To read the court’s decision, click here.

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Comments

  1. Wow, three republican judges say the state petition thing was trash. Well, yeah. The sad fact of the matter was that Mark Rey et al were fundamentally incompetent in how they handled the process of “roadless” areas.
    The Clinton Administration did the wrong thing, but they did it in a legal way. The Bush Administration did the right thing, but they did it wrong. So we’re still left with the fundamental wrong, which Obama won’t do anything to correct. What a shame.

  2. This is exactly why the Tester Jobs and Forest Bill needs to be blocked.

    Nice job, Judge LaPorte. When the Blue Ribbon Coalition complains, you know that the good guys won.

    Great news.

  3. Mike,
    Read the ruling so conveniently linked to by the esteemed Mr. Schneider, THEN you will know whom to thank. And Bill, you need to make a correction in that case.

  4. Mike is absolutely right! With the roadless rule upheld, thee is no urgency to get spooked into accepting an insultingly lopsided screw job like the Tester nonsense.

  5. Geez, real mike seems to be growing increasingly frenzied and erratic, please someone close get him a drink.
    It sounds like we still have conflicting rulings…..bring on the Supreme Court!

  6. Despite this supportive ruling, the smart thing for the Obama administration to do now is start over from scratch and come up with a new “roadless rule” that is lawsuit proof. This was a problem with the Clinton rule–done too late and too fast, with too many cracks for the beetles to crawl through, as it were. There is tremendous scientific support for protecting roadless areas from logging and road building–much more now than a decade ago. Let’s do it right this time.

    RH

  7. A correction: the opinion was written by Judge Beezer, on behalf of a 3-judge panel of 9th Circuit judges. Judge LaPorte wrote the district court opinion that was appealed. There are no 9th Circuit Magistrate judges. The magistrates are part of the federal district courts.