Recreational Groups appear at Roadess Rule Hearing
News Release from the Blue Ribbon Coalition
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 4, 2004) -- Recreational interests were among those in the packed courtroom before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte participating in the latest legal maneuvers over U.S. Forest Service management of "roadless areas." The three-hour hearing was held on August 1, 2006, in two consolidated cases challenging the 2005 Roadless Rule. Paul Turcke of Boise, Idaho appeared at the hearing on behalf of "recreational group" defendant intervenors the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs ("CA4WDC"), United Four Wheel Drive Associations, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and the BlueRibbon Coalition. Assisting Mr. Turcke as local counsel was Dennis Porter of CA4WDC.
The lawsuits were brought by the states of California, Oregon and New Mexico and numerous environmental organizations led by the Wilderness Society. The cases seek to have the 2005 Bush Administration Roadless Rule declared invalid and to reinstate the 2001 Clinton Administration Roadless Rule. The States of Washington, Montana and Maine have sided with the plaintiffs, while the State of Wyoming and Silver Creek Timber Company have joined the Recreational Groups in siding with the Federal Defendants.
"The Court conducted a thorough and probing analysis of the issues, and all involved anticipate the decision on this highly-visible issue," Turcke observed. "The Plaintiffs have indicated they will accept nothing short of reinstatement of the 2001 Rule, and our clients can live with virtually any result other than reinstatement. So it would appear that the controversy and litigation over "roadless" issues will not soon subside," Turcke predicted.
The 2001 Roadless Rule was challenged in at least ten lawsuits throughout the country, and was enjoined twice, temporarily by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, and then permanently by the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. While the Wyoming decision was under appeal, the Forest Service promulgated the 2005 Roadless Rule, prompting the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to declare as moot the challenges to the 2001 Rule and to vacate the earlier decision of the Wyoming court. These actions, coupled with a handful of projects moving forward which the Plaintiffs contend would have been blocked by the 2001 Rule, set the stage for the current litigation.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742.
For more information, contact:
Paul Turcke, Esq.
Phone: (208) 331-1807
Fax: (208) 331-1200