WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal challenging a federal rule that bars development on 58.5 million acres of roadless areas in national forests.
The justices said Monday they will leave in place a federal appeals court decision that upheld the so-called roadless rule that took effect late in the presidency of Bill Clinton.
The state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association said closing so much forest land to development has had serious consequences for residents of Western states and the logging, mining and drilling industries.
In Colorado, more than 4.2 million acres were designated as de facto wilderness by the rule, according to the Colorado Mining Association.
The challenge centered on the contention that that U.S. Forest Service essentially declared forests to be wilderness areas, a power that rests with Congress under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The Forest Service manages more than 190 million acres of land.
Read the Colorado Mining Association's appeal.