Good Riddance: Clinton “Roadless Rule” Dead

May 6, 2005

By Peyton Knight

Finally, more than four years after its hideous birth, the Clinton “Roadless Rule” is dead. The Bush administration and the Forest Service just announced a final rule that effectively undoes Clinton’s reckless decree. Dying with the “Roadless Rule” are the following:

– threats of catastrophic wildfire
– threats of forest infestation and disease
– lack of public access to public lands
– improper resource management
– unhealthy forests
– top-down federal overreach

Recall that Bill Clinton, just eight days before he left office, in the dark of night, penned his infamous, unilateral, executive order that locked up over 58 million acres of public land. No congressional deliberation. No public input. Just one constitutionally-challenged man overriding the will of the U.S. Congress, the states, and the public at large, in a bold attempt to give a last minute gift to his loyal green buddies.

Predictably, the environmental left is in convulsing. The rent-a-rioters at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are dubbing the new measure “the treeless rule” saying that President Bush has “deprived future generations of their birthright and natural heritage.” That’s hysterical even for the hysterics at NRDC.

(Note to the gullible who may be reading this: Relax. Your birthright and heritage are still firmly intact.)

In reality, all this new rule does is return state and local input to forest and public land management. It’s that simple. Rather than have one man’s last second, dictatorial rule govern over 58 million acres of public lands, now states, local governments, and private citizens can have access to their lands, and input into how their resources are managed. The horror of it all.

Of course, we’ve all seen what happens when the federal government shuts down access to public lands and shuns proper forest maintenance. Disease and infestation thrive. The forests burn out of control. Houses are reduced to ash. People die. Livelihoods are lost. Habitat is incinerated. Wildlife is destroyed and displaced. And to think, some people actually think the greens are pro-environment.

So let the green elite at the Sierra Club, the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, the NRDC, and the Wilderness Society kick and scream. Like all petty tyrants, they haven’t much use for local decision-making and citizen input. They much prefer to rule like…well…like Bill Clinton in the waning days of his presidency.

Peyton Knight is executive director of the American Policy Center, an activist think-tank located in Northern Virginia. The Center maintains a website at and can be reached via phone at (540) 341-8911.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.