Court ruling puts 50 million forest acres backwards to old rules

American Forest Resource Council

PORTLAND, OR – The Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Wyoming Federal District Court Judge Clarence Bremmer’s 2007 ruling that the 2001 Clinton Roadless Rule was illegal. The ruling sets the stage for implementation of that Rule. The impact of today’s ruling means that over 50 million acres of federal forests will be  permanently set aside in an arbitrary one-size-fits-all policy of little-to-no management. The hands off approach to managing these lands over the past decade has left forests ripe for devastating fire and insect outbreaks such as those we have witnessed on the Fremont-Winema National Forest and around Diamond Lake on the Umpqua National Forest.

Tom Partin, President of the American Forest Resource Council stated, “AFRC is disappointed that the management of millions of acres of individual Roadless Areas won’t be driven by local stakeholders and the conditions on the ground. While we hope this arbitrary policy can be changed in the future, the Forest Service must increase its efforts to treat the millions of acres of roaded Forest Service lands that are in poor health and could provide the raw materials needed to maintain local mills and provide much needed jobs in rural communities.”

The immediate impacts to any current or planned projects on National Forests will be minimal since that agency has basically operated under the rules of the 2001 rule. Any activities ongoing in Roadless Areas have been approved by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack since 2009.

The American Forest Resource Council represents forest product manufacturers and landowners throughout the west and is based in Portland, Oregon.

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