Ninth Circuit Appeals Court upholds Idaho national forest roadless rule

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to uphold Idaho’s national forest roadless rule.

Idaho Statesman by Rocky Barker

The panel, which included Idaho Senior Appeals Judge Stephen Trott, denied the appeal by the Wilderness Society, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and other environmental groups of the decision in 2011 of U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill upholding the rule.

"After scouring both the administrative and district court records in this case, we conclude that the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendants was warranted," the panel said in its decision. "The inclusive, thorough, and transparent process resulting in the challenged rule conformed to the demands of the law and is free of legal error."

The rule, negotiated by Jim Risch when he was governor, set up a unique system to protect nearly 9 million acres of roadless land in Idaho. The Idaho Conservation League and Trout Unlimited filed briefs in support of the Idaho rule, splitting with their environmental partners.

The rule is separate from the 2001 roadless rule that has been upheld by two appeals courts and the Supreme Court by its decision not to hear the case.