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April 10, 2007

Dave Bard,

Statement of Robert C. Vandermark, Director, Heritage Forests Campaign,

On the U.S. Forest Service Moving Forward on Idaho's Roadless Petition

Washington, D.C. The U.S. Forest Service today published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for a new federal rule to replace existing protections of national forest roadless areas in the state of Idaho. This is the first state-specific federal rulemaking on the management of national roadless areas.

"Idaho's roadless national forest lands make up the heart of the Northern Rockies - the last great wild frontier in the lower 48 states. A 30-day public comment period is far too inadequate to address the public's concern with some of our country's best wildlife habitat and recreation areas.

"This rulemaking process will determine the fate of 9.3 million acres of roadless areas. Currently, these areas are fully protected by the 2001 roadless rule. If adopted, the proposed Idaho state-specific policy would leave at risk the state's clean drinking water and prime hunting and fishing grounds.

"This abbreviated comment period, along with yesterday's announcement of its intent to appeal the court's reaffirmation of the roadless rule continues to demonstrate the Bush administration's unrelenting disregard for the wishes of the American people. It also demonstrates the administration's strong desire to further unravel critical protection for these natural treasures."

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