High court leaves Clinton-era rule intact, turning aside mining industry petition

The Supreme Court won’t hear state, mining and oil industry challenges to regulations issued at the tail end of Bill Clinton’s presidency that are aimed at protecting wide swaths of national forest lands.

The justices on Monday said they would let stand an appellate decision upholding the so-called roadless rule, which prevents road construction and timber harvesting on 58.5 million acres of National Forest System lands.

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The justices without comment turned back petitions from the state of Wyoming and the mining industry challenging the rule, which was finalized in January 2001. Groups including the American Petroleum Institute, which is the oil industry’s main trade group, had joined the effort to win Supreme Court review.

Eight other states had also urged review, according to Bloomberg.

Environmentalists cheered the court’s rejection of challenges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit’s decision upholding the rule.

“Today’s announcement by the Supreme Court denying Wyoming’s petition to review the Roadless Area Conservation Rule case is good news for the millions of Americans who have called for safeguarding our nation’s 58 million acres of pristine roadless forest areas for current and future generations,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, in a statement.