|Background ► The Roadless Rule, Colorado Roadless Petition & Obama Administration Proposed Rule ► Colorado Roadless Petition|
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2001 Roadless Rule
The 2001 Roadless Rule has been under attack almost as soon as it was put in place. Currently, managing under competing US District Court rulings that both uphold and overturn the 2001 Rule, National Forest roadless areas are protected by a Secretarial Directive that requires review by the office of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for any projects that impact a roadless area. The US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a challenge to the lower court’s ruling overturning the rule, and could rule any time. The Obama administration defended the 2001 Rule in this challenge, which was opposed by the Colorado Mining Association and the State of Wyoming. A judge in the 9th Circuit has upheld the 2001 Rule.
Colorado Roadless Task Force
Roadless Rule Reinstated
In 2009, the same federal judge in Wyoming that previously blocked the 2001 Rule blocked it again, resulting in two competing rules in two different federal districts. The U.S. 10th Circuit of Appeals is currently hearing a challenge to the Wyoming ruling.
Colorado Petition Process
However, so far no information on either the DEIS comment period or the state comment period has been released.
Obama Administration Proposed Rule
"The Obama Administration is committed to the protection of roadless areas on our National Forests as these areas are vital for conservation of water resources, for wildlife and for outdoor recreation -- an important driver of economic opportunity and jobs in rural communities.
“…As the Forest Service prepares a draft environmental impact statement for this petition, I have asked that the agency analyze the potential of adding significantly to the number of acres receiving a higher level of protection than the 2001 rule.
I'm confident that working with the Governor and with the public, we will craft a final rule that is, on balance, at least as protective of roadless areas -- and preferably more protective -- than the 2001 Roadless Rule."
- Sect. Tom Vilsack, US Dept of Agriculture
In April 2011 the USFS reissued a proposed rule and draft Environmental Impact Statement for a Colorado specific rule.
Although this most recent iteration has taken steps in the right direction, as proposed it still falls short of the administration’s commitment to craft a rule that is “at least as protective of roadless areas -- and preferably more protective -- than the 2001 Roadless Rule."
The proposed rule and accompanying DEIS is out for public review and comment until July 14, 2011. To comment go here. The USFS is hosting a series of open houses starting the week of May 16. For a schedule go here.