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Court rejects challenge to roadless rule

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The U.S. Supreme Court has turned away an appeal challenging a federal rule that bars development on 50 million acres of roadless areas in national forests.

 

The justices ruled Monday they will leave in place a federal appeals court decision that upheld the so-called roadless rule that took effect late in the presidency of Bill Clinton.

 

The state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association said closing so much forest land to development has had serious consequences for residents of Western states and the logging, mining and drilling industries.

 

Supporters of the rule said the nation’s forests need protection from development to preserve pristine areas that provide wildlife and natural resource habitat for hunting, fishing and recreation.

 

The challenge centered on the contention that the U.S. Forest Service essentially declared forests to be wilderness areas, a power that rests with Congress under the 1964 Wilderness Act.