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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

November 28, 2006

Dave Bard

Idaho Governor Bucks National Trend; First to Call for Logging and Road Building in National Forests

Proposal would open 82% of Idaho's roadless lands to development

Washington, DC On November 29, Gov. Risch will be the first governor to personally present his state's petition before the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee (RACNAC) and he will be the first to petition the federal government to dramatically reduce the current national protections afforded to these public roadless areas.

Idaho's petition is also the first following the September 20, 2006 California court decision that overturned the Bush administration's 2005 state petition rule. The court's ruling found that the Administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act when it repealed the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Thus, governors who wish to develop state rules that lift current national protections must now do so under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

Idaho's APA petition opens up 82% of the state's wild forest lands to extractive activities.

"By proposing to open millions of acres of America's last intact forests to logging and road-construction, the governor ran roughshod over the concerns of his constituents and the interests of Americans everywhere," said Mathew Jacobson, deputy director, Heritage Forests Campaign.

Idaho and national conservation organizations released a report that analyzes the content and recommendations of the state's petition as well as the flawed process used to develop it. Additionally, the report identifies the importance of Idaho's roadless national forest lands on a statewide, national and global scale.

"Idaho's roadless petition provides a great case study for why we need a national policy to protect the last remaining roadless areas within our country's national forests," said Robert Vandermark, director, Heritage Forests Campaign. "Idaho is home to the largest remaining intact forest ecosystem in the lower 48 states. But if this petition is adopted, we'll lose some of our most treasured, pristine and irreplaceable back country."

The advisory committee will meet in Washington, D.C. for three days to consider the state's petition regarding the management of Idaho's 9.3 million acres of roadless areas. Members from the national and state conservation community, hunters and anglers from the state and many others will offer testimony and discuss the governor's plan to lift the current national protections on the vast majority of Idaho's last remaining wild forests.

Read the report or HFC's resource page.


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