Appeals court upholds road ban in national forests
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has reinstated a ban on road construction in more than 50 million acres of pristine national forests, overturning a Bush administration rule that had cleared the way for more commercial activity there.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates a 2001 rule by President Bill Clinton that prohibited commercial logging, mining and other development on 58.5 million acres of national forest in 38 states and Puerto Rico.
The ruling, issued Wednesday in San Francisco, sides with several Western states and environmental groups that sued the Forest Service after it reversed the so-called “Roadless Rule” in 2005.
The Obama administration has ordered a one-year moratorium on most road-building in national forests.