Heritage Forests Campaign News Release
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 5, 2002
CONTACT: Le Evans, NET, 202-887-1342 or 202-487-7465 (cell)
HFC Applauds New Bill to Protect our National Forests
New Bipartisan Bill to Protect Roadless Areas from Most Commercial Logging
WASHINGTON More than 170 members of Congress today introduced new legislation the National Forests Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2002 to protect 58.5 million acres of national forest lands from most commercial logging and road-building.
"Like many Americans, we are frustrated with the Forest Service's failure to protect our national forests," said Jane Danowitz, Director of the Heritage Forests Campaign, a national alliance of organizations working to protect our national forests. "It is time for the Congress to act on behalf of future generations who deserve the opportunity to enjoy these precious lands."
The National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act codifies the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, one of the most sweeping land conservation measures in a generation. The rule was approved following years of scientific study and more than 600 public meetings across the country. To date the Forest Service has received more than 2.2 million comments favoring roadless protection. This outpouring of public response is almost ten times greater than that of any other rule in history.
The new legislation would protect our last pristine wild forests by reinforcing the roadless rule and prohibiting new road construction and reconstruction. It would not, however, completely ban road building, road reconstruction or economic utilization.
The legislation allows new roads to be constructed in specific circumstances, such as to fight fires or when other natural disasters threaten public safety. The bill does not close any existing roads or trails and allows full access for recreational activities.
In addition, the legislation does not affect the right of access to property owned by states or individuals, allows logging of certain timber to reduce wildfire risk, and allows for the expansion of existing oil and gas operations.
"With summer right around the corner, we want to make sure that families across the country have the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of our national forests now and for years to come," said Danowitz. "That opportunity will be lost if we don't protect these precious public lands now."
The National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2002 is sponsored by Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R- N.Y.) and Jay Inslee (D- Wash.), along with more than 170 other members of Congress.
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.
Copyright 1998-2001 Heritage Forests Campaign. All Rights Reserved.