Bush Administration Refuses to Defend Roadless Rule

In what may be a final blow to the Clinton-era roadless policy, the Bush administration refused to appeal a federal court injunction against the rule by the deadline for doing so last Friday. Enviros are hopping mad that the administration didn’t defend the policy, which aimed to prevent road-building, logging, and oil and gas development on 58.5 million acres of roadless national forest land. “At every turn this administration has sought cover for its intentions to gut the roadless rule, and now it is hiding behind an adverse district court decision, rather than defending the law of the land,” said Robert Vandermark, codirector of the Heritage Forests Campaign. The roadless rule was highly popular with the public; the U.S. Forest Service received more than 2 million public comments in support of the policy before it was enacted, a record for comments on a federal environmental measure.