Idaho roadless rule gets day in court
Environmentalists tomorrow will urge a federal judge to overturn a Forest Service plan to protect some 9 million acres of Idaho forest from most road building and logging, arguing that the state-tailored roadless rule violates federal environmental law and could harm grizzly bears and caribou.
But Justice Department attorneys, arguing on behalf of the Interior and Agriculture departments, will counter that opponents of Idaho's roadless rule have no legal standing to sue and that the rule "is as, or more, protective" than a 2001 nationwide roadless rule adopted by the Clinton administration to protect 53 million acres of federal land, including 9.3 million acres in Idaho.
The fate of the plan will rest in the hands of U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise, who could decide whether the Idaho rule should stand, undergo changes or be scrapped in favor of the national plan that has been generally embraced by environmental groups.
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