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Washington, D.C. - U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge ruled yesterday that the U.S. Forest Service should hold off implementing the "roadless" rule issued by the Clinton Administration because implementation would cause "irreparable harm."

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., supported the judge's decision. The rule's implementation would have a serious impact on the state. More than 3 million acres of land in Wyoming would be affected. The following are Enzi's comments.

"This so called 'roadless' rule was a prime example of the Washington knows best mentality exhibited during the previous Administration. The importance of protecting and preserving pristine wilderness is vital to Wyoming and the country, but I have long objected to the closing roads people have been using for years to access their favorite fishing or hunting spots. I objected to the way this Clinton rule sidestepped the process already in place. Forest service personnel, in cooperation with local communities, should be making these kinds of decisions.

"The decision handed down by the federal judge in Idaho recognizes the tremendous impact of shutting off access to an area of forest twice the size of Ohio. The people of Wyoming and the Forests themselves will benefit from local input, more accurate mapping and generally more thorough consideration of how to manage this land now and for the future.

"I hope this ruling stands. It will allow the new Administration to continue to manage the Forests with the input of the people most affected by the decisions."