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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

August 10, 2004

Joint statement of Robert Vandermark and Tiernan Sittenfeld Co-Directors, Heritage Forests Campaign
Bush Forest Plan Breaks Faith with Washington State

Washington, DC (August 10, 2004) - Few states had more at stake than Washington when the Roadless Area Conservation Rule protecting our last wild national forests was drafted nearly four years ago. Washingtonians made their opinions clearly known when the state’s residents participated in more than 40 public hearings and submitted more than 80,000 comments favoring the rule, an amount exceeding all but only four states. The Bush plan to overturn the roadless rule and start unprecedented logging, drilling and mining of our national forests shows callous disregard for the will of the citizens of Washington State, and the country as a whole.

The Bush plan eviscerates current forests protections embodied in the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, and instead abdicates national forest stewardship to state and local politicians who could either petition for protection of roadless areas in their states - or for more logging, mining and drilling. The substitute policy announced is entirely unworkable and does not have the national interest at heart. Few, if any, governors have the expertise and are going to spend their limited resources and political capital asking the Forest Service to protect these remaining wild areas.

Let us be clear: the day this proposal takes effect, millions of acres of our last wild forests will be immediately at risk.

A 60-day public comment period began on July 16th. During the public comment period, we are calling on Washingtonians and Americans across country to tell the Bush Administration to keep the roadless rule in place in the Lower 48 and in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest and to reinstate the Rule in Alaska’s Tongass Rainforest. Please visit ourforests.org and make your comments count.

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For additional information, contact Robert Vandermark, at 202-887-8800.

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. To learn more, visit: ourforests.org

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