WASHINGTON (AP) – The 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 on Monday decided to 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 challenged the rule, arguing that closing so much forest land to development has had serious consequences for residents of Western states and the logging, mining and drilling industries.
The challenge centered on the contention that that U.S. Forest Service essentially declared forests to be wilderness areas, a power that rests with Congress under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The Forest Service manages more than 190 million acres of land.
With the high court’s decision not to hear the case, the state of Alaska has the only pending lawsuit against the “Roadless Rule.” The state’s challenge is currently pending in federal court in Washington, D.C.