The Obama administration has been quite vocal in its desire to preserve roadless forests. The US Forest Service’s Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protected 58 million acres of forests that do not have access roads running through them, was passed in early 2001 just as Bill Clinton was leaving office. The new president George W Bush, responding to concerns from mining and lumber industry groups, sought to relax the rule in many areas, but litigation over it in 2006 resulted in a court decision stopping the modification of the rule which had the effect of halting construction on various access road projects into formerly protected areas. In 2008, a Wyoming federal district court struck down the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. That case is on appeal to a higher court, and when Obama took office in 2009, the new administration joined environmental groups in the appeal case–in other words, the administration is fighting in court to keep the rule in place. It may succeed. While the Wyoming issue is still on appeal, the Roadless Rule was upheld in another circuit in August 2009. It is clear that the Obama administration supports a national policy to protect roadless forest areas.
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