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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2005

Tony Iallonardo, NET, 202-887-8855 (ph)

Administration Puts Our Last Wild National Forests at Risk

Statement of Robert Vandermark, Director, Heritage Forests Campaign

Washington, DC (May 5, 2005) Yesterday 58.5 million acres of ever-dwindling pristine National Forests in this country were protected for all, and today the Bush Administration has deliberately placed them on an endangered list. Millions of acres of our last wild forests are now immediately at risk. Theodore Roosevelt must be rolling in his grave. This leave no tree behind policy paves the way for increased logging and mining in much of the nation's last wild areas.

Four years ago, this Administration made a promise to the American people to uphold the protection of these last wild areas, but almost as soon as that promise was made, they began dismantling National Forest safeguards for political ends. More than $9 million in Bush campaign contributions from energy and agribusiness have paid off.

The American people have spoken loud and clear on this issue protect these valuable national treasures. Instead, this new policy masterfully executes the agenda of special interests, allowing timber companies to write forest plans that turn majestic national treasures into tree farms. National Forests deserve national protection, and should not be subject to the whims of local politics and Federal political cronies.

Politics aside, there are practical and fiscal problems with the plan. America's National Forests are currently covered with 386,000 miles of roads enough to encircle the earth 15 times and the Forest Service currently has a $10 billion maintenance backlog on those roads. At this time of massive budget deficits, and a massive road maintenance backlog in our forests, the Forest Service should be making "no roads" the status quo and placing the burden of proof on those who wish to build, not on those who wish to protect. The Bush Administration is asking taxpayers to dig deeper into their wallets to build even more roads to nowhere.


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