Heritage Forests Campaign News Release
December 12, 2002
Statement of Robert Vandermark
Spokesperson, Heritage Forests Campaign
On the New OMB Report:
The Bush Administration's Analysis of Roadless Protection
"When the Bush Administration touted a supposed commitment to 'roadless values' in response to claims they were undermining roadless protection, the American people questioned that commitment.
"Now, with the release of a new Bush administration report, their intentions are clear. When calculating the benefits of roadless protection, they placed absolutely no value in leaving roadless areas undeveloped, even though national forests supply much of the nation's drinking water and are a major source of recreational revenue. As it turns out, the administration's 'roadless values,' are calculated in logging revenues for the timber industry.
"According to the Department of Interior's own numbers, nearly 85 percent of the revenue generated from national forests comes from recreational activities--more than five times the amount generated by logging. Currently, U.S. parks and woodlands, including the 58.5 million acres affected by the roadless rule, provide an estimated $100 billion in recreational benefits and nearly 333,000 jobs each year.
"The Bush administration's cost-benefit analysis of the roadless rule is completely skewed. How can they claim that they will generate profits from building more roads, when they already have more than an eight billion dollar backlog of road maintenance? Their current liability far outweighs any projected profits.
"The Bush Administration's cost-benefit analysis caters to the timber industry at the expense of the American taxpayer."
OMB has reviewed three categories of rules and guidance documents: 92 rules have already been the subject of agency consideration; 49 rules nominated by "commenters" were promulgated by independent agencies over which OMB has no authority; and 126 rules were referred today to the relevant agencies for discussions with OMB between now and February 2003. (See p. 77 of "Stimulating Smarter Regulation," OMB 2002)
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For More Information, Contact: Jennifer Coate, NET, 202-887-8855 or 202-320-0693 (cell)
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.