Heritage Forests Campaign News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2001
Forest Service Continues Rollback of Roadless Area Protections
New Directives Signal Departure from Bush Administration Pledge to Uphold Popular Conservation PolicyWashington, D.C. -- The Bush administration published two new Forest Service directives in the Federal Register today that will allow new logging, mining, and drilling in some national forest areas that would have been protected by the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
"Just days before Christmas and with the nation at war, the Bush administration is reneging on its promise to protect our National Forests," said Jane Danowitz, Director of the Heritage Forests Campaign. "These new directives pave the way for more logging, mining, and drilling on our last undeveloped national forests."
The directives eliminate a Clinton administration moratorium on road-building in uninventoried roadless areas. These areas had been protected for their ecological values.
They also remove any roadless protection for Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the country's largest old growth forest.
The directives also eliminate a provision that required regional and local forest service officials to conduct environmental and public reviews before logging, mining, and drilling can begin in roadless areas.
The directives will be entered into the Transportation and Planning sections of the Forest Service's management manual, which instructs regional and local forest personnel on Forest Service policies. They will remain in effect for eighteen months, expiring shortly after the 2002 mid-term elections.
This action is the clearest example that the Bush administration's is reneging on its earlier pledge to protect roadless areas. On May 4, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth announced that the Bush administration would uphold the roadless rule and honor roadless values.
This week, the Forest Service is under a temporary restraining order imposed by a federal court to stop a new commercial salvage-logging project in Montana's Bitterroot National Forest. The Forest Service has come under fire from environmental groups for proceeding with the planned project without adequate public input.
To view the directives, please visit the Federal Register website:
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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