|Background ► The Roadless Rule, Colorado Roadless Petition & Obama Administration Proposed Rule ► History of the Roadless Rule|
|◄ Background Main||
The Roadless Area Conservation Rule
In the late 1990s, the Clinton administration initiated a process that intended to resolve the continued controversy over how these areas should be managed. After the most extensive public process in the history of federal rulemaking — one that generated approximately 1.6 million comments (the most comments ever received on a proposed federal rule, and more than 90% of them in favor) — the Roadless Area Conservation Rule was published in January of 2001. The rule put a stop to almost all road building associated with commercial logging, and coal, gas, and other mineral leasing on almost 60 million acres of what remained of the most pristine areas in our National Forests. Click here for a legal summary of the Roadless Rule.
When the Bush administration came into office in January of 2001, it almost immediately suspended implementation of the Roadless Rule. Over the subsequent two years, several lawsuits were filed, challenging the 2001 Roadless Rule. Two Federal court decisions overturned it, one of which was reversed on appeal. Then in late 2006, a court ruling reinstated the 2001 Rule. However, a decision on at least one lawsuit challenging the Rule is pending. In any case, there is a strong need to protect roadless areas, not only because of wildlife and other important values, but also because of a maintenance backlog of nearly $10 billion (1), which includes approximate $163 million in Colorado. This backlog consists of about 386,000 miles of roads (enough to encircle the earth 15 times), and many of these roads are in disrepair or slated for obliteration and rehabilitation.
|1 The Forest Service estimated this backlog as it formulated the roadless rule. Se 66 Fed Reg 3246, January 12, 2001.|