Judge puts Clinton’s roadless policy back in action

In a Three Stooges-esque poke to the eyes of the Bush administration (nyuk nyuk!), U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte yesterday reinstated a Clinton-era ban on road construction, logging, mining, and other development in roadless national forest areas. In May 2005, the Bushies replaced Clinton’s “roadless rule” — which applied to 58.5 million acres, or nearly a third of national forest land — with a process that required governors to petition the feds if they wanted to protect national forests in their states. Siding with 20 green groups and four states that had sued the U.S. Forest Service, Laporte ruled that the admin did not conduct necessary environmental studies before yanking the Clinton policy. ”This is fantastic news for millions of Americans who have consistently told the Forest Service that they wanted these last wild areas of public land protected,” said Kristen Boyles of Earthjustice. The timber industry denounced the ruling — not because they want to log, silly, but because they’re worried that roadless areas are vulnerable to wildfire. The Bushies may appeal.