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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

Friday, September 16, 2005

Tony Iallonardo
Phone: 202.887.8855

Statement By Robert Vandermark, Director, Heritage Forests Campaign

On Administration Announcement of Forest Advisory Panel

Under the Administration’s new rule governing roadless forests, today the USDA announced the names of the committee members in a late Friday press release. The committee will provide recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on the petitions to be submitted by governors for the treatment of these areas. The group is notable for its diverse makeup, including some environmental advocates. Ultimate authority rests with the Secretary of Agriculture under the new Bush rule, and his track record has strongly favored logging and mining over stewardship.

Heritage Forest Campaign reacted, saying: "This committee’s membership is a prescription for getting conflicting advice that in the end will leave the decisions with an administration that does not want to protect roadless forests," according to Robert Vandermark, director of HFC. See the advisory panel charter here.


The Committee is composed of:

State Elected Official Representative
   - Darin Bird, Assistant director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources

Local Elected Official Representative
   - Robert Cope, Lemhi County Commissioner Idaho

Developed Recreation Representatives
   - Adena Cook, Public Lands Director for the BlueRibbon Coalition
   - Geraldine Link, Director of Public Policy for the National Ski Area Association

Commercial Interest Representatives
   - Jeff Eisenberg, Director of Federal Lands, National Cattlemen Beef Association
   - James Riley, President of the Intermountain Forestry Association
Organized Labor Representative
   - Denny Scott, United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners, Dir of Research

Conservation Organization Representatives
   - Chris Wood, VP Government Affairs for Trout Unlimited
   - Todd Schulke, Center for Biological Diversity
   - Paul Hansen, President Izaak Walton League
   - Howard (Ray) Vaughn, Executive Director of Wild Law
   - Dale Harris, Great Burn Study Group

Additional background on roadless policy:

  • The Bush administration announced its repeal of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule in early May of this year. The USDA's announcement discussed how the repeal brought states and governors into the process. See the USDA release online here.
  • Under the new policy, if governors wish to have roadless areas within their state protected, they must complete a petition process and file their recommendations with political appointees at the Department of Agriculture. The petitions are not binding, and the government is free to accept, modify or reject them. (analysis)
  • There are 58.5 million acres of pristine National Forests that were protected under the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule - about a third of total National Forest acreage. Though the Bush administration did not hold any public hearings prior to their repeal of the rule, over 1.7 million Americans spoke out against their policy. The original Roadless Rule garnered 2.5 million comments in favor and was the subject of an unprecedented 600 public hearings. (more about the comments)
  • In late July, 145 members of Congress introduced legislation mandating real protections for pristine National Forest areas.

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