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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

March 9, 2004

Roadless -- Rey and Bosworth Signal Imminent Decision

WASHINGTON -- According to former top timber industry lobbyist and current Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey and Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, changes to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which was enacted in 2001 to protect 58.5 million acres of our last wild forests from logging and road-building, are imminent.

The two Bush administration officials were on Capitol Hill last week to testify on the Forest Service Fiscal Year 2005 budget. On Tuesday, March 2, they testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and on Wednesday, March 3, Chief Bosworth testified before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

After his testimony, Undersecretary Rey indicated that the administration plans to propose changes to the roadless rule in about a month. Despite overwhelming public support for the roadless rule, the administration has already exempted Alaska’s Tongass Rainforest from the rule and has previously said that it plans to allow governors to seek exemptions from the rule for forests in their states.

On March 3, 2004, Greenwire reported: "Tired of the ongoing legal battles over the rule, the Forest Service announced last summer its intent to propose a replacement, likely allowing states to apply for exemptions to the rule. That proposal should be ready within a month, Rey said."

During Chief Bosworth’s testimony before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, he also indicated that the administration intends to come out with a proposal in the next month or so.

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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. To learn more, visit: ourforests.org

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