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Roadless Rules: The Struggle for the Last Wild Forests Paperback – March 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1597264402 ISBN-10: 1597264407 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Roadless Rules is an informed and informative read."
(Midwest Book Review)


"Roadless Rules is an in-depth examination of one of the greatest conservation victories in history—the Clinton Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protected 65 million acres of roadless area in national forest from road building and logging. After eight years of the Bush administration's indefatigable effort to reverse or undermine it, Clinton's handiwork has stood the test of time. Tom Turner explains why the initiative was breakthrough and how it has withstood ongoing assault."
(Carl Pope Executive Director, Sierra Club)


"There's no one better than Tom Turner to tell this epic tale, for he was one of the people who made it come out mostly right. It's an important chapter of American environmental history m and of our democratic history too, because for one the voice of millions was not muffled by special pleading from the powerful."
(Bill McKibben author of Deep Economy)


"This story highlights just how fragile environmental victories are."
(Wildlife Activist)

About the Author

Tom Turner is a journalist and the editor at large for Earthjustice in Oakland, California. He is the author of Wild by Law; Sierra Club, One Hundred Years of Protecting Nature; and Justice on Earth.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597264407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597264402
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,222,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Alderson on March 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
The "roadless rule" protects 58 million acres of roadless areas in national forests in 38 states. For eight years the Bush administration tried to get rid of it, but failed because they didn't understand that people know and love these roadless areas. In this book Tom Turner traces the origins of the roadless rule in the Clinton administration and tells how it survived attempts to repeal it. The story will take you to a salmon stream in the Rocky Mountains, several courtroom dramas, and many places in between. The author salutes the activism of citizens all over the country who would not let the roadless rule die.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Roads are a vital part of civilized society, but done incorrectly, they can destroy the environment. "Roadless Rules: The Struggle for the Last Wild Forests" tells the tale of the classic environment vs. development battle. Through the Clinton years, roads were kept in check by democratic environmental policies, but as George W. Bush gained the presidency, these rules were repealed and ever since, forest-conscious environmentalists have been in legal battles to protect the forests. "Roadless Rules" tells the developments of this story, and is an informed and informative read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Kozak on September 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Turner, in his years as the bard of the environmental movement, has perfected the technique of taking potentially dry, wonky, policy & legal information & weaving it into a larger environmental tale in a way that makes it jump off the page. Some stories just need to have the "behind the scenes" info included, and he's the man to do it.

The tale of the Roadless Rule is one of those. The concept is simple - keep public wild lands free of roads that lead to exploitation & degradation. The public gets it - and is overwhelmingly in favor of it. But the extraction industries and the GWB administration weren't keen on letting all the resources in roadless areas "go to waste." With that you enter a decade-long maze of political & legal shenanigans that would make your head spin, if you didn't have Turner for a guide. His explanation of the struggle to keep roadless areas wild reads like a thriller, with twists & turns & amazing "truth is stranger than fiction" moments.

An entertaining read, important for understanding how most environmental struggles are fought - and won - these days.
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By william supulski on July 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this expecting a passionate environmentalist polemic for the cause of roadless area protection, and so I was not disappointed. However, it is focused mainly on the environmental community's struggles, goals, and the roadless lawsuits. It offers many insights on how the environmental "industry" works, and Turner identifies many heroes in the movement. He talks about this being the most respondents ever to a federal rulemaking effort. Turner talks about the Congress having some support for a roadless law, but does not mention House and Senate efforts in 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007 all died in committee.
It was the omissions that were my greatest disappointment with the book. The Forest Service is portrayed as a homogeneous timber extraction agency. There is no discussion on the struggles within the agency to produce the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (RACR). How the agency dealt with 1.7 million comments in a timely manner. There is no mention of the career bureaucrats' sacrifice, the passion of hundreds of agency employees asking for and taking details to work on the project, a few spending over a year away from their families and homes. The ones Chief Dombeck introduced to President Clinton as the people "who actually did the work." Work the 9th and 10th Circuit Courts upheld. No group of lawyers could win a rulemaking case without a well done record prepared by bureaucrats.
Some of Turner's factual errors include:
* Claims the RACR has a road exception for "pest control" (p. 8) - it doesn't.
* Says the 58.5 million acres were "official unprotected roadless areas" (p. 19) without clarifying half these acres were already protected by the agency from road construction by their land management plans.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyboby who has ever gone hiking in a roadless area will appreciate this book. Tom starts from the start of the battle and takes you threw the progress that people have made to bring us to today.
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