The Real World Roadless Rules Challenges

The legal status of America’s 58.5 million acres of Inventoried Roadless Areas has been unsettled for nearly a decade. These wild areas were given strict protection in the final days of the Clinton Administration, but President Clinton’s Roadless Rule was suspended and later overturned by the Bush Administration when it promulgated its State Petitions Rule. Both rules were challenged in various courts, with conflicting results. As it stands, the United States Forest Service is simultaneously compelled to follow the Roadless Rule by the Ninth Circuit and barred from following the rule by the Tenth. This Note argues that both rules are invalid and that a new rule is needed for long-term stability. This new rule should initially require strict protection by the federal government but should allow for some local input to prevent another reversal when the Republican Party eventually retakes the White House.