Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the Northern District of California today overturned the Bush administration’s repeal of protections for nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forest lands. This includes roughly 4,000 acres in the Sam Houston National Forest north of Houston.
“The Bush administration took way too many short-cuts in their rush to clear cut,” said Christian Alexander, a field associate with Environment Texas. “Our most pristine national forests are once again safe from destructive logging, mining, and oil drilling.”
Judge Laporte found that the Bush administration’s rule violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Administrative Procedures Act.
The decision reinstates protections first put in place in 2001 under a policy known as the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The Roadless Rule protects the last third of America's national forests while allowing new road construction in order to fight fires, ensure public safety, and allow brush clearing to protect forest health. The Roadless Rule ensures that forests will continue to provide clean drinking water, habitat for wildlife, and endless opportunities for recreation and solitude.
The Roadless Rule is the most popular conservation initiative in our nation's history, having already been supported by a record-breaking 2.5 million public comments.