In a victory for environmentalists, a federal appeals court has reinstated a Clinton administration rule protecting nearly 60 million acres of national forests from logging, mining, and construction. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco lifted an injunction against the roadless rule yesterday, simultaneously affirming its legal basis and criticizing a lower court for blocking the regulation at the request of paper and timber giant Boise Cascade and a coalition of western logging and snowmobile interests. Effective immediately, the roadless rule will begin to protect vast swaths of public lands, including much of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, from most commercial activity. The ruling came just a day after the Bush administration announced plans to expedite salvage logging in national forests by limiting environmental reviews.

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