Heritage Forests Campaign News Release
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2002
CONTACT: Le Evans, NET, 202-887-1342 or 202-487-7465 (cell)
30,000 AMERICANS TELL BUSH TO KEEP PROMISE, STOP FOREST ROLLBACKS
Citizens Deliver 30,000 More Comments Favoring Roadless Protection
WASHINGTON - More than 30,000 Americans submitted comments to the Forest Service urging the agency not to implement two new directives that undermine national forest protections.
"The public continues to reject the Bush rollback agenda," said Jane Danowitz, Director of the Heritage Forests Campaign. "But the real question is whether the Bush administration will continue to protect its timber industry allies or keep its promise to protect our pristine national forests."
In May 2001, following significant public and Congressional pressure, the Bush administration promised to uphold the roadless rule with some minor changes. The administration has yet to deliver on that promise, but has enacted a series of obscure directives that roll back significant national forest protections.
The two directives were released by the Forest Service just days before Christmas and were heavily criticized because they allowed new logging, mining, and drilling in some national forest areas that would have been protected by the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The Forest Service allowed public comment for 60 days, ending today.
The roadless rule was finalized in January 2001, after the most extensive public rulemaking in history. To date, the Forest Service has received more than 2.2 million comments from Americans who favor roadless protections.
The Bush administration has received considerable criticism recently for a series of controversial forest policy decisions. In January, the Bush administration was sued for attempting to proceed with a massive salvage logging operation in the Bitterroot National Forest without public involvement. The administration was forced into mediation with environmentalists, and agreed to dramatically scale-back the logging. Just a couple of weeks ago, environmentalists harshly criticized a Bush administration budget proposal for new 'charter' forests - privatized national forest lands that could be managed by private organizations instead of the Forest Service.
For more information, please contact Le Evans at (202) 887-1342
The Heritage Forests Campaign is an alliance of conservationists, wildlife advocates, clergy, educators, scientists, and other Americans working together to uphold protection of our National Forests. Heritage Forests Campaign's partners include Alaska Rainforest Coalition, American Hiking Society, Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, National Environmental Trust, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, US PIRG, and The Wilderness Society.
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