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Old 08-18-2008, 05:12 AM
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A small victory over greeny's

Forest Service mulls roadless ruling

Associated Press writer Thursday, August 14, 2008

CHEYENNE -- The U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday it's reviewing a federal judge's rejection of a 7-year-old ban on building and logging in undeveloped national forests as environmentalists rushed to appeal the court ruling.

Forest Service spokesman Joe Walsh said agency attorneys were considering the implications and how to respond to the ruling issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer of Wyoming.

Brimmer ordered a permanent injunction against the federal government's roadless rule in response to a lawsuit filed by the state of Wyoming. Brimmer said the rule was enacted in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wilderness Act.

The Forest Service adopted the roadless rule in January 2001 in the final days of the Clinton administration. It prohibits logging, mining and other development on 58.5 million acres in 38 states and Puerto Rico. Roadless areas make up nearly one-third of Forest Service lands and 2 percent of the nation's land mass.

Environmental groups on Wednesday filed an appeal to Brimmer's ruling in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, marking the latest court challenge in a lengthy dispute over the legality of the rule.

Kristen Boyles, a Seattle-based lawyer with Earthjustice, a nonprofit law firm, said the groups disagree with Brimmer's judgment that the Forest Service broke the law in developing the roadless rule. The groups will ask the appellate court to prohibit development in roadless areas while the case proceeds, she said.

"These are places that the public has spoken in favor of protecting time and time again, as places that we shouldn't go forward with unthinking development," she said. "They're places that are important for clean water for many communities, places that are important for recreation, for hunting, fishing and hiking, and taking our kids."

Opponents of the rule, who cheered Brimmer's decision, said they expect more litigation before the case is resolved.

"I think the court issued a very thorough and comprehensive ruling in the case, and we look forward to defending this ruling before the 10th Circuit," said Stuart Sanderson, president of the Colorado Mining Association, which intervened in the case in support of Wyoming.

Sanderson said the roadless rule stifled some active coal mining operations in Colorado, preventing companies from building ventilation shafts on the surface above underground coal mines.

The Clinton-era restrictions were beset by legal challenges almost immediately upon their implementation. Brimmer's latest order echoes a similar ruling he made five years ago in response to a lawsuit filed by Wyoming four months after the rule took effect.

Brimmer's 2003 ruling was rendered moot when the Bush administration decided not to appeal and instead issued its own rules for roadless areas, which required governors to petition the federal government to protect roadless areas in their states.

Conservation groups and attorneys general from Oregon, Washington, California and New Mexico later challenged the Bush policy.

In 2006, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco set aside the Bush rule and reinstated the 2001 Clinton administration one. That prompted Wyoming to renew its complaint in federal court.

Users of public lands in Colorado and Idaho could soon be subject to new rules for the roadless areas of those states, regardless of the outcome of the legal wrangling.

Both states have pursued development of their own rules under the federal Administrative Procedure Act, a broad law that allows the states to petition the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, to make changes to rules for federal lands.

Several states had petitioned the federal government to develop roadless rules while the Bush administration's policy for governing roadless areas was in effect, Boyles said.

Most of those states were seeking a continuation of the Clinton policy, so they were appeased when the California judge reinstated it.

Only Colorado and Idaho went forward with their petitions under the Administrative Procedure Act, hoping to gain more state control over decisions about the use of federal roadless areas in their states.

Lt. Gov. Jim Risch of Idaho said he expects his state's rules for its 9.3 million acres of roadless areas to take effect this year.

"We are not affected by the either the Bush rule, the Clinton rule or the ten thousand lawsuits that are pending regarding that rule," Risch said.

Last month in Colorado, the Forest Service published proposed rules for that state's 4 million acres of roadless areas written in conjunction with the state government.

Terry McCann, spokesman for the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Region, said the Forest Service is pushing forward with a series of public meetings to gather comment on the proposed rules and hopes to have them in place by early next year.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:42 AM
Double V Double V is offline
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Ok, maybe I'm out of it but why am I excited that we're opening the national forest to mining and logging? I mean, if it had some off road trails, great, but this sounds like it was pushed for by the mining industry...and frankly, I don't find clearcut and mined areas to be the most fun for trail riding...

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Old 08-22-2008, 10:15 AM
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The BLM is holding 8 'town meetings' to discuss this in CO. Sad thing is the public is not allowed to pose questions at these meetings It's more of 'this is what we're doing' type of thing.

And yeah..its for mining, gas exploration, and a nod torwards forestry.

As a wheeler, I see NO problem driving my jeep up a dang trail that was MADE for jeeps. You rarely see people trying to carve trails at high elevation..that requires getting out of the drivers seat and using tools (eek!). Simplifying it as wheelers vs treehuggers isn't getting anyone anywhere. We're going up there to enjoy the wilderness, and the 4WD rig is a tool to get there. Some people can't hike that far. There should be equal access for those that choose to walk, and choose to drive. If the gubberment opens it all up in the idea of energy exploration..what's the point of driving up there then? To view a wasteland? No thanks. Just a different POV..
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:18 AM
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clear cutting is an issue with poor forrest management not to be confused with proper forst management and select harvesting.

problem is that the roadless initiative has banded everything from occuring in the woods. So we are rapidly ending up with huge tracts of poorly managed and un-healthy forrests. If you want to see a black and white difference go out to montana and hike up and into the Bob Marshall wilderness, the wildlife inside the wilderness (one of the largest) is scarce but along the borders and in the surrounding tiberlands outside of the wilderness there is an abundance of wildlife. problem is the wilderness area is so overgrown that it lacks the important younger foods like new sprouts and grasses.............So of course the animals move to where things have been burned and/or thinned and sunlight is getting down to the forrest floor and where the older lower yeilding vegitation has been burned off/ removed, soil has been disturbed and new vegitation and sprouts are begining to come up.

Out west if you dont do some thinning and some control burning regularly you end up with a giant jungle like California has now and when a fire does get started instead of a healthy burn it leaves a barin wasteland. National forests and lands were created to be managed for sustainable (i hate that word because its been so abused over the years) natural resource management, programs like FSC forrst management when implimented have provent to yeild healthier wildlife populations and healthier forrest. problem is there is a huge disconnect and misunderstanding by the general public that opening up the lands is going to result in a return to the methodologies of yester year.

Though mining is invasive if done correctly the impact visually and naturally can be minimized. the FS doesnt allow open pit mines any more and in a national forrest of 100000 acres you might find 200-300 acres being used for a mining operation or at most 3 mining operations.

I am not an advocate of plowing roads everywhere and making the skyline look like the berkley pit but at the same time doing nothing is just as bad if not worse than what they are trying to prevent. If they are going to open up the FS lands to be used that is a good thing for the local forrest mangers to address things as they see fit(since they are the specialists for their area) vs some feel good politician in Washington DC just saying no to everything from 2000 miles away and not even walking the land or knowing why certain things are done. Instead of blocking off more and creating vast tracts of wilderness and wilderness study areas that rarely get used and typically are in disarray, they should re-visit their guidelines and rules for logging and progressively move towards a program like FSC. and with mining the local manager needs to be accountable for proper drainage testing ect.

If they would manage the forrests instead of treating them how they have for 30-40 years we would all be happier in the end. Problem is the roadless rule is a continuation of the mentality that it is cheaper and easier for them to close off everything vs actually managing it. Therefor us as wheelers are hand in hand tied to everyother entitiy that uses the forrest we all need each others to keep access open and to keep each others honest as stewards and users of the land. Otherwise the Government will continue down the path of just closing everything off and doing nothing, for them that requires the least amount of work and infrastructure.
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Last edited by dusty : 08-22-2008 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:17 PM
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man some youz guyz have really been chuggin the greeny koolaid.....

when just about anywhere on earth was settled it was first the harvesters whether they be miners, farmers etc etc. they first built trails then roads some areas expanded and others abandonded. you are now using these trail/roads with no benefit other than to drive your rig on. modern forestry/mining/ag is pretty bio friendly as compared to your flash back of an earlier time where cut er all down, dig er out and the hell with the enviroment was the norm.
its about the public.... you me and the bird watcher being able to use our "public" lands and not be dictated to by some greeny sucking agency or "official" stomping his hob nail boot on our throats for his own personal agenda. they the liberal/commy/greeny wants to control us, where you go, what you do

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Old 08-22-2008, 04:40 PM
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Oh geez we're NOT supposed to drink the koolaid?

I have that sticker on my 68 Volvo 30mpg, 4 spd, 4.11 gears and leaks oil worse than a jeep.

Actually, by 'just' driving our rigs on the trail, we are contributing to the economic use of the forests, because tourism is factored in with visitor counts in relation to funding for said upkeep on forests. That's why Ed Abbey is rolling in his grave as parks become National Monuments and get nice paved roads right up the scenic parts that should have remained isolated and protected, and people strew their kids diapers in the parking lots.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:57 PM
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JPSwapMohn JPSwapMohn is offline
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I am not sure I am educated enough about what's what in modern mining. I have enjoyed some forests that were replanted after harvesting. Ganted, it seemed that they only had the types of trees that were going to be profittable for the next harvest, and they all seemed to pretty much be in sort of rows..

I have also enjoyed some wonderful forests in Idaho that were allowed to be natural. If a fire burned and did not threaten homes, they let it burn..mainly cause you really couldn't get to them.

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area is pretty important to Idaho and it's self image. Even those that have never been into it recognize it as a distinguishing part of the state. I lived in Boise for over 10 yrs and really did use my jeeps to get to places where the hiking or biking started and /or the fishing was good. I would not like to see those places turned into clear-cuts, "tree farms", or the run-off negatively impact the fish population.

Now I know there seems to be some clashing between we, the 4x4 folks, and we, the trout fisherman. Again, I have not really bothered to dig into whatever it is that is the foundation of that clash. I am sure there are fisherman that think our rigs should be no where near "their" rivers..but if you ask them how they got to the river, most park their 4x4's as close to their favor fishing spot as possible.

I have hiked a couple of days to get into a set of alpine lakes and enjoyed the views, the wildlife, and the screaming quiet. But there are many of those types of places that I would have preferred driving so I could go more often.

I also know that the public's relationship with BLM is often tenuous. Few folks out there seem to trust them. We did see them decide to sell land for development that they had adamantly pushed people off of for decades. No one, myself included, seem to understand what/who they represent (obviously they represent the government and it's interests..I got that). I can say that they do a really crappy job of PR and a crappy job of engaging the public that they are suppose to work for, at least indirectly.

I do think the FS does a slightly better job. After all, these are the nice folks that come by and chat with you while you are out enjoying public lands..8^)

I do agree that controlled harvest, controlled burn, or letting nature do it's own thing need to happen. I am just not sure I trust the Colorado Mining Association, the lumber industry, or the politicians to keep that balance in perspective when weighed against the bank account..
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