roadless rule comments sought by Sept. 14
- ADMINISTRATION LOOKS TO ELIMINATE PROTECTIONS FOR ROADLESS AREAS IN
AMERICA'S NATIONAL FORESTS
Audubon Calls on American's Who Care About Our Forests'
Voice Their Concerns During Public Comment Period
Washington, DC, Thursday, July 29, 2004 In a move widely
by conservationists, sportsmen's associations, and outdoor
groups, the Bush Administration announced plans July 12 to eliminate
the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule limiting logging and
development in 58.5 million acres of national forest. Today, Audubon
calls on Americans who care about the environment to let the
Administration know how they feel during the public comment period
ending September 14. They can take action on Audubon's website at
The Roadless Rule was adopted in 2001 after two years of public
participation, including hearings throughout the country and comment
periods. The public overwhelmingly supported the rule: more than two
million comments were submitted in its favor. With more than half of
America's national forest lands already subjected to road
logging, mining, and other development, the Roadless Rule offered
some balance, allowing for the conservation of critical habitat for
endangered and threatened birds and other wildlife, and safeguarding
some land for future generations.
"The implementation of the Roadless Rule had more Americans
commenting on it and supporting it than any other federal rule in
U.S. history. Yet, the administration has ignored the public's
clearly expressed desire to protect the last untouched areas of our
national forests," said Bob Perciasepe, Audubon's chief
officer. "We urge those Americans who care about the fate of our
nation's forests to once again let the government know how you
during this public comment period."
The Administration's proposed rule provides no guaranteed
for a single acre of roadless forest. Instead, Agliculture Secretary
Ann Veneman has put forward a rule that would require America's
governors to petition the U.S. Forest Service to retain roadless
protections on national forests in their states. It would likely
result in millions of acres being opened to road building, logging,
development, and other activities.
The Bush Administration's move comes one year after they stripped
protections for the Tongass and Chugach Forests in Alaska and allowed
states to apply for exemptions from the roadless rule. "The clear
intent of this destructive, three-year-long policy is increased
timber cutting and increased road building," Perciasepe stated.
is not a policy based on what is good for birds and wildlife;
policy based on what's good for the special interests."
"I urge Audubon members and our friends to fight this
buffalo' mentality," Perciasepe concluded. "We must not
opportunistic weakening of our nation's environmental laws, but
should work together to protect our wild places for birds, wildlife,
and all Americans."
Concerned citizens can send their comments to the Administration via
Audubon's "Take Action" website