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Appeals Court Reinstates 2001 Roadless Rule

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An appeals court in Denver has upheld a ban on development on nearly fifty million acres of “roadless” national forest lands that dates back to the Clinton Administration, but it’s not yet clear how the ruling will effect Colorado’s proposed Roadless Rule which is currently under consideration by the Obama Administration.The ruling Friday from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a federal district court decision that the 2001 Roadless Rule violated federal wilderness law.

Lawyers for the state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association had argued the original Roadless rule was written without the input of industry or the consent of Congress. 

But Jane Danowitz of the Pew Environment group says the tenth circuit has upheld that the 2001 rule is the law of the land.

"We are hoping that the Obama Administration uses this decision to say that the forests of all states, including Colorado, deserve maximum protection and that is appropriately provided by the Roadless Area Conservation Rule," Danowitz says.

Colorado was one of only two states to move ahead with drafting its own roadless management plan, calling it an insurance policy due to conflicting court rulings.

Conservationists like Danowitz have criticized its exceptions for limited coal mine and ski resort expansions.  

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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