Conservation groups have intervened in a court battle over attempts to overturn the U.S. Forest Service's new rule protecting designated roadless areas. The Feb. 6 filing was one day after the Bush administration announced it would delay implementation of the rule for 60 days to review it. The groups filed to intervene in support of the Forest Service against two lawsuits initiated last month in U.S. District Court in Boise. The tribe, Boise Cascade Corp. wood-products company, Boise and Valley counties, an Emmett rancher and off-road vehicle groups filed one suit. The second was submitted by the Idaho Land Board, a bipartisan panel. Both seek to overturn the roadless rule. They were the second attempts by both groups to block the initiative. A district court judge ruled the Forest Service had not wound its way through the process of environmental studies to the point the plan was "ripe" and could be sued. State Attorney General Al Lance said the Clinton administration's process ignored Idaho's view and was designed for a predetermined conclusion. Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund and Natural Resource Defense Council went to court on behalf of the Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, Oregon Natural Resources Council, Pacific Rivers Council and Defenders of Wildlife.
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