Wilderness debate heats up

Here’s an interesting article in today’s Missoulian discussing the renewed debate over designation and expansion of wilderness areas . . .

For more than three decades, millions of Montana federal acres have been de facto wilderness.

Over the past few weeks, those slumbering lands have been shoved back into the spotlight. And last Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the nation’s 40 million acres of “inventoried roadless lands” were properly protected by a 2001 Clinton administration prohibition on development.

But the 10th Circuit Court in Wyoming is deliberating on a mirror-reverse case, where a lower-court judge has declared the Clinton rule is wrong. That would leave standing a subsequent Bush administration rule allowing states to make their own rules governing federal roadless land.

And in between, Sen. Jon Tester’s proposed Forest Jobs and Recreation Act might open 1 million acres of Montana roadless land to logging, according to some of its critics.

Read the entire article . . . [link repaired]