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March 30, 2004

Tony Iallonardo, NET

The Bush Administration's Forest Policy:

Just One Long Prank on the American Public?

On May 4, 2001, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, at an appearance with Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, said the following:

"We're here today to announce the department's decision to uphold the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Through this action, we are reaffirming the Department of Agriculture's commitment to the important challenge of protecting roadless values."

But on December 23rd, 2003 the Bush administration ignored that promise and exempted Alaska's Tongass Rainforest from the roadless rule. And during testimony before the House Resources Committee on March 3rd, 2004 Chief Bosworth indicated that the Forest Service intends to propose changes to weaken the roadless rule in the Lower 48 states within a month or so.

Is the joke on the American public? Will the rest of our last wild national forests be next?

This April Fool's Day, the Heritage Forests Campaign is sending a message to the Bush administration: "We won't get fooled again."

At issue is the historic conservation initiative, known as the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which was enacted in 2001 to protect 58.5 million acres of roadless areas in our national forests from most logging and road-building. And there's no doubt that the rule is popular with the American public -- the Forest Service received 2.5 million comments in favor of the rule.

The ad to the upper right is running in Congress Daily every day this week and is part of the effort to get the Bush administration to keep the roadless rule intact in the lower 48 states and in Alaska's Chugach National Forest, and to reinstate the roadless rule in the Tongass rainforest.

Don't let the administration's deceitful rhetoric about our last wild forests fool you this April Fool's Day.

For more information:

Tiernan Sittenfeld
Heritage Forests Campaign
(202) 546-9707 #311
Rob Vandermark
National Environmental Trust
Heritage Forests Campaign
(202) 887-8800

To see the Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time, check out the Museum of Hoaxes at www.museumofhoaxes.com/aprilfool.

Note to media: Beginning this week, Tony Iallonardo joins the staff of NET as deputy director of communications. A Connecticut native, Tony brings ten years of public affairs experience working in non-profits, the private sector and on Capitol Hill. Most recently, he worked for the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids. Tony can be reached at 202-887-8855. .

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