The Obama administration says it will defend a 2001 rule instated by President Bill Clinton that blocked logging, mining, road construction, and other development on 58 million acres of remote national forests.

Conflicting court opinions have variously upheld and blocked the so-called Roadless Rule of 2001. A subsequent Bush administration rule in 2005 had eliminated the rule and cleared the way for more commercial activity in national forests.

But last week, a federal appeals court threw out the 2005 Bush roadless rule, saying that the 2001 rule offered greater protection to forests than the 2005 rule. And yesterday, the Obama Administration indicated in briefs filed in court that it supports reinstating the 2001 Roadless Rule protections.

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