August 20, 2008

Chronology of the Roadless Area Conservation Policy


January 5
President Clinton announces and USDA Secretary Glickman signs the final roadless policy.

January 8
Boise Cascade et al. files suit in Idaho U.S. district court.

Case is assigned to Judge Edward Lodge.

January 9
State of Idaho files suit in Idaho U.S. district court. Case assigned to Judge Lodge.

January 12
Roadless Area Conservation Rule published in Federal Register.

January 20
President Bush takes office. White House directive postpones effective date of all federal rules not yet in effect.

January 31
State of Alaska files suit in Alaska U.S. district court.

February 5
USDA Secretary Veneman postpones effective date of Roadless Rule until May 12, citing White House directive.

February 20
Boise Cascade files motion for a preliminary injunction (PI), requesting decision on their case prior to May 12.

March 9
Bush Administration requests delay in answering both Idaho complaints.

March 15
Senators Patrick Leahy and Maria Cantwell write to Attorney General John Ashcroft urging vigorous defense of Roadless Rule litigation.

March 16
Bush Administration requests a 42-day delay in responding to Idaho PI motions and commits to postponing implementation of Roadless Rule until Judge Lodge rules on the PI motions.

March 16
Nez Perce Tribe submits friend of the court brief opposing the PI request.

March 20
Judge Lodge denies the Administration's March 16 request to delay proceedings and orders Administration to respond to PI requests by March 21.

March 21
The Bush Administration's response to the Idaho PI requests makes no effort to defend the Roadless Rule and suggests the court enjoin the roadless rule after May 12.

March 28
State of Colorado files friend of the court brief in support of State of Idaho's lawsuit.

March 30
At court hearing on Idaho PI motions, the Bush Administration does not defend the Roadless Rule and asks the court to wait for the Administration to complete its review and file a status report by May 4.

April 5
Judge Lodge issues an opinion in which he defers a decision on the PI requests until May 4, but agrees with Idaho plaintiffs that the Roadless Rule violated was adopted illegally.

April 20
State of Utah files lawsuit in Utah U.S. district court.

April 20
Timber industry coalition, led by American Forest and Paper Association, files lawsuit in District of Columbia U.S. district court.

May 3
States of Montana and Wyoming file friend of the court briefs in support of the State of Idaho's lawsuit.

May 4
Bush Administration files status report with Judge Lodge saying that it will implement the Roadless Rule, but will propose amendments to the rule that address the concerns of Judge Lodge and the plaintiffs.

May 8
Four counties in North Dakota file lawsuit challenging Roadless Rule.

May 10
Judge Lodge issues preliminary injunction blocking implementation of Roadless Rule; environmental intervenors appeal to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

May 12
Roadless Area Conservation Rule scheduled to go into effect.

May 19
State of Wyoming files lawsuit challenging Roadless Rule.

May 21
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals grants environmental intervenors' request to expedite consideration of their appeal of Judge Lodge's preliminary injunction.

May 31
Environmental intervenors file appeal brief with Ninth Circuit.

June 1
Judge Lodge stays further proceedings pending a ruling from Ninth Circuit.

June 6
Montana attorney general files amicus brief with Ninth Circuit in support of Roadless Rule.

June 7
Forest Service requires approval by Chief of all road building and logging projects in roadless areas until forest plans are amended.

July 10
Bush administration issues Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) with 60-day public comment period on 10 questions regarding protection of roadless areas.

July 27
Forest Service issues interim directive on roadless area management.

August 22
Forest Service begins 60-day public comment period for interim directive on roadless area management.

September 10
End of public comment period on ANPR. More than 800,000 comments submitted.

September 10
State of North Dakota files lawsuit challenging Roadless Rule.

September 20
Forest Service proposes changes in its "categorical exclusion" regulations that would exempt small-scale management activities in roadless areas from environmental analysis requirements.

October 1
Judge Jackson grants federal government's motion to stay indefinitely the two Roadless Rule lawsuits filed in the District of Columbia

October 15
Ninth Circuit holds hearing on expedited appeals of Judge Lodge's preliminary injunction.

December 20
Forest Service issues interim directive on roadless area management, removing protection for contiguous unroaded areas.


Judge Brimmer denies the federal government's motion to stay the State of Wyoming's case.

April 12
Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) announce their intention to introduce legislation codifying the Roadless Rule.

May 10
26 Senators send a letter to President Bush asking him to uphold the Roadless Rule.

May 17
Bush administration recommends no wilderness protection for roadless areas in Tongass National Forest.

June 5
Inslee-Boehlert roadless area conservation bill introduced in House, with more than 170 original cosponsors.

July 25
Cantwell-Warner roadless area conservation bill introduced in Senate.

August 12
Bush Administration files legal brief in North Dakota case strongly defends the legality of the Roadless Rule.

December 12
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2-1 decision, reverses Judge Lodge and lifts preliminary injunction.


March 26
Forest Roads Working Group recommends that the Forest Service implement the Roadless Rule and discontinue efforts to amend Rule.

April 4
Ninth Circuit denies Boise Cascade and State of Idaho petition for re-hearing.

June 5
Roadless Area Conservation Act introduced in House and Senate.

June 12
Bush Administration announces that it will propose changes to Roadless Rule to exempt Tongass and Chugach National Forests and grant waivers upon request of individual State governors.

June 14
Interim directive on roadless area management expires.

July 14
Wyoming U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer decides that Roadless Rule violated NEPA and Wilderness Act and issues injunction.

July 15
Forest Service publishes proposed temporary rule exempting Tongass from Roadless Rule and an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to permanently exempt both the Tongass and Chugach.

August 14
Comment deadline for Tongass temporary rule and Chugach ANPR.

August 21
Justice Department and North Dakota plaintiffs request a 2-month delay in North Dakota cases due to anticipated revisions in Roadless Rule.

September 5
North Dakota U.S. District Court agrees to postpone summary judgment hearing and schedules settlement meeting for September 23.

September 12
Justice Department declines to appeal Brimmer decision.

November 12
Justice Department files amicus brief urging 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to deny intervenors’ appeal of Brimmer decision.

November 12
Forest Service proposes logging 12,000 acres of inventoried roadless areas in Siskiyou National Forest.

December 23
Forest Service exempts Tongass National Forest from Roadless Rule.


January 14
22 Senators send letter to President Bush asking him not to change the Roadless Rule.

June 16
House of Representatives votes 222-205 to end taxpayer subsidized road-building in the Tongass National Forest.

June 28
Administration schedules July release of proposal to replace the Roadless Rule with a process for Governors to petition for changes in roadless area management.

July 6
Forest Service decides to approve the Three Mile Timber Sale in Tongass National Forest, with 621 acres of logging and 7.78 miles of new roads, mostly in inventoried roadless areas.

July 8
Forest Service decides to log 8,173 acres of inventoried roadless areas in Siskiyou National Forest, despite objections from Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.

July 12
USDA Secretary Veneman officially announces that Administration will propose replacing the Roadless Rule with Governor petition process.

July 16
Draft rule on replacing Roadless Rule published in Federal Register.

August 19
California federal district court enforces Roadless Rule as basis for enjoining timber sale in Duncan Canyon Roadless Area.

November 12
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and 8 other governors send a comment letter opposing the Administration’s draft rule and supporting the Roadless Rule.

November 15
Comment period on draft rule ends. More than 1.7 million comments oppose the Adminstration’s proposal and support retaining the Roadless Rule.


January 24
The State of California asks the Forest Service to continue protecting roadless areas in the state.

April 1
Oregon Governor Kulongoski asks the Forest Service to defer logging of roadless areas in the Siskiyou National Forest. The Forest Service agrees to wait until 21 days after the Administration’s new roadless policy is adopted and goes into effect.

April 7
Forest Service in Alaska agrees to drop roadless area logging in the Orion North Timber Sale through partial settlement of a lawsuit over the Tongass National Forest management plan.

May 4
Oral arguments scheduled before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on the Wyoming district court decision enjoining the Roadless Rule.

May 5
The Administration announces their plans to overturn the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Congressmen, Senators and Governors express their opposition to new rule. The Outdoor Industry Association and Republicans for Environmental Protection also express opposition.

May 13
Bush Administration issues final regulation repealing the Roadless Rule and replacing it with a state petition process. Interim directive requiring Chief-level approval of roadless area projects is renewed.

July 11
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses appeal of the Wyoming district court decision and vacates the decision, on grounds that the case has been made moot by the May 13 repeal of the Roadless Rule.

July 28
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and over 140 cosponsors introduced legislation to restore protection for our roadless forests.

August 5
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals invalidates the Tongass National Forest management plan and remands the case to the district court to determine appropriate relief.

August 28
States of California, Oregon, and New Mexico file a lawsuit challenging the Bush Administration’s repeal of the Roadless Rule. The case is assigned to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte in Northern California federal district court.

October 5
Earthjustice files suit on behalf of The Wilderness Society and 19 other conservation groups, raising issues similar to the states’ case. The case is also assigned to Laporte.

October 14
Oregon Governor Kulongoski petitions Bush Administration to allow states to adopt 2001 Roadless Rule. The petition is denied on October 27. Washington Governor Gregoire files a similar petition on November 2.

December 14
National Roadless Area Advisory Committee holds its first meeting.

December 22
Governor Warner (VA) is the first Governor to submit a petition to protect the 380,000 acres of roadless forests in Virginia.


January 10
Bush Administration attorneys deny all allegations in states' and conservationists' lawsuits.

January 16
Forest Service extends interim policy requiring Chief's approval of logging and roadbuilding projects in most roadless areas.

February 9
Washington Governor Gregoire announces that Washington will be joining the California, Oregon, and New Mexico lawsuit.

February 24
Montana and Maine file an amicus brief supporting the states’ lawsuit challenging the repeal of the Roadless Rule.

March 2
Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) reintroduces Roadless Area Conservation Act in the Senate with 11 cosponsors.

March 6
Governor Easley (NC) petitions to protect 172,000 acres of inventoried roadless areas in North Carolina.

March 16
Judge Laporte orders the Forest Service to disclose internal documents on the Bush Administration’s decision to repeal the 2001 rule.

April 5
Nez Perce Tribe petitions for withdrawal of 2005 Roadless Repeal.

April 19
Governor Sanford (SC) files a petition to protect South Carolina’s 7,900 acres of roadless forests.

May 9
National Roadless Area Advisory Committee reviews and endorses petitions from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

May 31
New Mexico Governor Richardson submits the first western state petition, requesting protection for all of the state’s inventoried roadless areas, plus the newly acquired Valle Vidal.

June 9
Forest Service auctions Mike's Gulch Timber Sale in South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area. Oregon Governor Kulongoski announces he will go to court to stop the sale.

June 21
Bush Administration accepts the Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina roadless area petitions, leading to state-specific rulemaking processes.

July 12
California Governor Schwarzenegger petitions to protect all 4.4 million acres of the state's inventoried roadless areas.

August 1
Court hearing held in roadless cases before Judge Laporte.

August 4
Forest Serivce auctions Blackberry Timber Sale in North Kalmiopsis Roadless Area.

August 7
Logging begins in Mike's Gulch Timber Sale - the first time a roadless area has been logged since the Roadless Rule was adopted in 2001.

August 11
State of North Dakota settles its lawsuit challenging the Roadless Rule.

September 20
Judge Elizabeth LaPorte of the U.S. District Court Northern District of California ruled that the Administration illegally repealed the Roadless Rule, sets aside the State Petitions Rule and reinstates the Roadless Rule nationwide except in the Tongass National Forest.

September 20
Idaho submits petition allowing road building and logging in most of the state's 9.3 million acres of roadless areas.

September 21
Timber industry appeals Laporte to 9th Circuit.

September 22
State of Wyoming asks Judge Brimmer for immediate reinstatement of his 2003 decision enjoining the Roadless Rule.

September 22
Forest Service Chief issues national directive to stop roadless area activities unless consistent with the Roadless Rule (except in Tongass).

September 29
Judge Singleton issues decision on relief in Tongass case (following 9th Circuit reversal on August 5, 2005), enjoining eight timber sales in roadless areas until Forest Service revises Tongass forest plan.

October 4
Judge Laporte denies State of Oregon's request to enjoin nearly-completed Mike's Gulch and Blackberry timber sales.

October 4
Bush Administration re-charters National Roadless Area Advisory Committee to review state petitions submitted under Administrative Procedures Act.

October 18 - 19
Meeting of National Roadless Area Advisory Committee (RACNAC); decides to continue reviewing petitions.

November 13
Colorado outgoing Governor Owens submits petition based on state task force recommendations.

November 29
Judge Laporte issues injunction barring road construction in connection with more than 300 oil and gas leases sold since January 2001.

November 29
Idaho outgoing Governor Risch tells RACNAC that his petition is intended to protect all but 500,000 acres of Idaho’s IRAs consistent with the Roadless Rule.


February 6
Judge Laporte issues final injunction, clarifying that the injunction extends to oil and gas drilling permits (as well as leases) issued since May 2005.

April 9
Forest Service and timber industry appeal Judge Laporte’s decision to the Ninth Circuit.

April 10
Federal Register notice initiates 30-day scoping comment period on Idaho petition for state-specific rulemaking.

April 11
Colorado Governor Ritter submits roadless petition including exemptions for ski areas, grazing, and coal mining.

May 24
Bills to enact the Roadless Rule are introduced in the House and Senate.

June 7
Judge Brimmer denies State of Wyoming's request to reinstate his 2003 decision enjoining the Roadless Rule.

July 5
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denies State of Wyoming's request to reinstate intervenors' appeal of Judge Brimmer's 2003 case.

October 19
Judge Brimmer holds oral arguments on State of Wyoming's new lawsuit challenging the 2001 Roadless Rule.

December 20
Idaho roadless rule draft EIS released.

December 26
Colorado roadless rule scoping notice issued.


January 22
10-year anniversary of Forest Service proposed moratorium on road construction in Inventoried Roadless Areas.

January 25
Tongass final forest plan released.

February 25
Comment deadline for Colorado roadless rule scoping.

February 28
State of California sues the Forest Service for failing to protect roadless areas in 4 southern California forest plans.

April 7
Comment deadline for Idaho roadless rule draft EIS.

Source: The Wilderness Society