The so-called roadless rule, promulgated in the final days of the Clinton Administration, has once again been struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer. The rule, which prohibits building of new forest roads on undeveloped tracts of forest land, has been in limbo for several years in a game of legal ping pong, with Brimmer issuing an injunction against the rule in 2003 and the Ninth Circut Court of Appeals reversing that decision in 2006.
The roadless rule benefits federal taxpayers because taxpayers pay to build these new roads in national forests and to maintain the roads once they are in place. The Forest Service has a poor track record of properly maintaining the nation’s forest road system, and the maintenance backlog is estimated to be as high as $10 billion, and possibly much more. A 2004 report by Taxpayers for Common Sense outlines the backlog and its impact on the nation’s taxpayers.