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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

November 19, 2003

Roadless Update

The Bush administration has been busy planning and executing its multi-pronged attack on the roadless rule, just look at the various angles the administration is taking:

1. Granting permits to the mining and timber industry to develop in roadless areas;
2. Allowing industry lawsuits to take down the roadless rule;
3. Proposing to exempt Alaska’s national forests from the rule;
4. Planning to rewrite the rule entirely.

Below you will find more information on the above-mentioned actions.

In addition, the Bush administration recently turned over dozens of forest service jobs to the private sector. For more information

1. ADMINISTRATION WASTES NO TIME IN GOING AFTER PRISTINE FORESTS For the first time since a moratorium was placed on roadbuilding in nearly 60 million acres of America’s unroaded forests, large-scale development projects are on the brink of moving forward in Oregon and Idaho roadless areas protected by the rule. The Bush administration is planning these sales as it proceeds with its efforts to gut the rule.

SISKYOU NATIONAL FOREST -- OREGON AND NORTHERN CALIFORNIA Monday, the Bush administration released its plan to log as much as 518 million board feet of timber from Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest -- impacting as much as 57,000 acres of roadless areas. According to the Associated Press, the administration increased its harvest proposal after the roadless rule was enjoined by a Wyoming District Court. However, Oregon and California are part of the 9th Circuit where a preliminary injunction placed on the rule by the Idaho District Court has been reversed. The agency will post its plan in the federal register tomorrow. To read the Associated Press story

CARIBOU-TARGHEE NATIONAL FOREST - IDAHO In September, the Bush administration granted J.R. Simplot Company’s application to build new roads into the Sage Creek Roadless Area of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest for phosphate exploration. Local residents and conservation groups have asked the administration to reconsider the permit because it violates the roadless rule. For more information

2. SHUTTING THE COURT HOUSE DOOR ON THE PUBLIC The Bush administration not only failed to appeal the Wyoming District Court decision enjoining the roadless rule, but went even further last Friday when it filed a court brief arguing citizens had no right to appeal the decision either. Conservation groups were successful in appealing the Idaho District Court decision -- putting the rule in place for the first time since the administration froze implementation in January 2001. For more information: https://ourforests.org/press/pr03-11-13.html/

3. LOGGING AMERICA’S LARGEST RAINFOREST While the timber industry plans nearly 50 large-scale timber sales in roadless areas of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the Bush administration is finalizing a proposal to strip Alaska of its roadless protections. Major businesses such as outdoor retailer REI and office supply store Staples wrote letters to the Forest Service opposing the proposal. For more information

4. ADMINISTRATION LOOKING FOR WAY TO "MARKET" THEIR PLAN TO GUT THE ROADLESS RULE The Bush administration announced a forthcoming proposal that would allow states to opt out of the rule when it announced its Alaska exemption. The administration has since changed course and is now signaling its intent to rewrite the rule entirely. Referring to its plans, Agriculture Undersecretary, Mark Rey said in a September 18, 2003 Land Letter story, "‘We're still trying to get the content right,’ Rey said, ‘then we'll turn it over to marketing for a name.’" To read the story

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Contact: Tony Iallonardo, NET
(202) 887-8855

The Heritage Forests Campaign is an alliance of conservationists, wildlife advocates, clergy, educators, scientists, and other Americans who are working together to uphold protection of our National Forests.

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