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Mining Group Asks Supreme Court to Hear Roadless Case

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The Colorado Mining Association is asking the US Supreme Court to consider an appeal of a lower court ruling upholding a national rule blocking development on so-called roadless national forests. 

The move is the latest twist in an ongoing legal battle over the controversial plan.

In its petition, the association argues the 2001 federal roadless rule erroneously included land in western Colorado where coal mining has occurred for more than a century.  The group originally joined with the state of Wyoming in 2007 in an unsuccessful legal challenge to the Clinton-era plan. 

CMA President Stuart Sanderson says, if upheld, the 2001 rule would have "devastating" impacts in Colorado, home to roughly 4.2 million acres of roadless forests. 

"Essentially it was a one-size-fits-all rule that would have basically included those areas de facto wilderness and off limits to mining." 

Sanderson has been a supporter of a state of Colorado roadless rulethat exempts some previously protected forests for coal mine expansions. 

It’s not clear whether the Supreme Court will hear his group’s case, nor is it entirely clear whether Colorado’s soon-to-be finalized state rule is in line with a recent 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Denver declaring the 2001 roadless rule the law of the land.

You can listen below to Kirk Siegler talking about the roadless rule on Colorado Matters Friday morning.


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