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PNS Daily Newscast - May 21, 2018 


Giuliani now says the Mueller probe into whether President Trump obstructed the Russian collusion inquiry will end by September. Also on the rundown: Healthcare providers gear up as Trump's new "Gag Rule" targets Planned Parenthood; and some perspective on the administration’s push for Arctic oil.

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End of the Line for 'Roadless Rule' Journey?

August 7, 2009

Concord, NH - The controversial wrangling over the national forest "roadless rule" may have reached the end of its journey. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has affirmed a lower court's 2006 reinstatement of the rule's original provisions, approved by the Clinton administration in 2001, which had substantially limited road development in national forests. The new policy tosses out a change during the Bush administration, which had allowed states to establish individual policies on building roads. The Court's decision solidifies protections for about 60 million acres nationwide, including 400,000 acres of New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest.

Environmental advocates hail the decision, including Jane Danowitz, public lands program director with Pew Environment Group, who says backers of the original rule are now looking for an official declaration from the White House so that the rule cannot be changed again. Some believe Congressional action would be needed to stop a lingering cycle of lawsuits over the rule, as well as to address the continued work by some states to establish their own policies, she says.

"The ruling is really a game-changer in what has been at least a decade-old fight to save the nation's last undeveloped forests."

The roadless rule has generated years of controversy, with some logging, mining, and motorized recreation interests criticizing development restrictions in roadless areas. Danowitz says the original rule had enjoyed strong public support from the beginning because it preserved land for hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and other recreation.

"Where there hasn't been controversy, and where there has been agreement, is that these national forests need protection."

As the court decision was pending, the Obama administration called a "time out" in June on development activity and awaited further review of the issue. Opponents of the rule argue it has unfairly limited forest activities, and there is some question about whether the court's ruling holds over states, such as New Hampshire, which lie outside the Ninth Circuit's jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Meantime, the ruling may not be the final say, since in 2008, a federal district court judge in Wyoming invalidated the Clinton administration rule, and now that ruling has been appealed to the Tenth Circuit, which has not ruled.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH