Forests Forever

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Forests Forever Action Alerts

4/27/07

ACTION ALERT

TELL THE FOREST SERVICE TO PROTECT ALL ROADLESS AREAS

If you don’t agree with something, just pretend it never happened: that’s how the Bush administration is reacting to a federal judge’s repudiation of its repeal of the roadless rule.

In its final decision on Feb. 7, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco threw out the Bush administration’s attempt to repeal the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, declaring the Bush maneuver to be illegal. The ruling also halted all Forest Service projects in roadless areas begun since the original, environmentally protective rule was promulgated in 2001.

As expected, the Bush administration appealed the decision on April 9. But without waiting to see how the court decides, the Forest Service has continued to accept petitions from state governors seeking to rewrite roadless area protections in their states. By accepting these petitions, the administration is flouting the court’s decision and circumventing the popular roadless rule.

The original Roadless Area Conservation Rule was the most popular environmental rule ever written, garnering over 1.6 million public comments during the original rule’s development, and over 4 million overall during the Bush administration’s attempts to overhaul and finally repeal the rule. The roadless rule, now back in force following the court’s ruling, protects some 50 million roadless acres of national forest from roadbuilding, logging, drilling, mining, and other development. (The Tongass amendment, which exempted Tongass National Forest in Alaska from the roadless rule, was not affected by the court’s decision.)

The petition submitted by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is the first petition to be considered by the federal government since the court’s ruling in February that the repeal was illegal. Otter’s petition would protect fewer of Idaho’s roadless areas than are currently protected by the roadless rule.
The governor’s petition would redefine 525,000 acres of roadless forest as “general forest,” removing them from the protection of the roadless rule.

Idaho has more roadless forest outside of parks and preserves than any state in the lower 48– more than 9.3 million acres. These acres contain some of the last unspoiled wild forest in the West. Losing them to logging, oil and gas drilling, roadbuilding and ski resort development would be a loss not just to Idaho, but to the country as a whole.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Write a letter to the Forest Service, asking it to protect all of Idaho’s roadless areas. Use your own words.

Ask that the comment period–currently only 30 days– be extended, and ask the agency to hold public meetings.

Ask that the Forest Service analysis take into account the potential impact of the ruling on the 525,000 roadless acres to be designated as “general forest.”

Send your letter to:

Roadless Area Conservation– Idaho
P.O. Box 162909
Sacramento, CA 95816-2909

Or fax it to: 916.456.6724

Email it to: IDcomments@fsroadless.org
(Email is recommended.)

BE SURE TO SEND YOUR LETTER BY MAY 10, 2007.

 

Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
by
John J. Berger

NOW AVAILABLE
from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places