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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

For Immediate Release
June 23, 2005

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

Statement of Robert Vandermark, Director, Heritage Forests Campaign

Kempthorne Baulks on Roadless Protections

Trend Shows National Forests Need National Protection

WASHINGTON, DC Last year, in praising the Administrationís roadless forests scheme, Gov. Kempthorne said the chance to work in cooperation with the Forest Service was an opportunity that Governors would undertake Ďwith great anticipation.í It turns out Gov. Kempthorne had it completely wrong.

One by one, western governors are expressing concern that engaging in the Administrationís expensive and politically thorny petition process could be for naught since the Forest Service gets the final say. In the end, Governorsí political capital and state resources could be wasted, with state recommendations being completely dismissed. Now even the Administrationís champion has balked at fully engaging in this process and is reverting back to weak forest plans that do little to protect roadless areas in Idaho and the country. The governor is passing on a chance to protect the natural heritage of Idaho and America.

Reverting back to old forest plans as Governors Kempthorne and Huntsman have proposed will itself be a huge step backwards in protecting roadless areas. In some cases these forest plans are as many as 25 years old and in Idahoís case, those plans provide very little forest protections. In Idaho, only 3.6 of 9.3 million roadless acres are protected under Forest Service plans.


Today, the Bush Administrationís own statehouse champion, Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, announced he would not put significant state resources into filing a petition with the Forest Service regarding the management of pristine National Forests. His plan passes the buck to county commissioners, local officials and Idahoans to make the case for forest protections beyond the scant amount already protected in current Forest Service plans.

Governors Kempthorne and Joe Huntsman of Utah have both proposed going back to their stateís old forest plans; Kempthorne does it by submitting a petition, while Hunstman does not. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he has secured a side agreement with the Forest Service to protect roadless National Forests, but that agreement has yet to be seen. New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and Montanaís governors have all been critical of the administrationís plan.

Click here to see a map of the current forest plans for Idaho

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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.

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