Vilsack Continues Roadless Rule in Nat'l Forests

May 31, 2011 - 6:44 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has extended for another year a rule that blocks most logging and mining in millions of acres of remote sections of national forests.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he wants to preserve the so-called roadless rule while officials wait for federal courts to resolve legal issues surrounding the decade-old moratorium that President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001.

The rule blocks most commercial logging, mining and other development on about 58 million acres of national forests. A subsequent Bush administration rule cleared the way for more commercial activity. Vilsack imposed a new moratorium in 2009.

The rule does not apply in Idaho, which developed its own roadless rule. Officials in Colorado have submitted a separate plan that has yet to be approved by federal officials.