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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

June 20, 2003

Roadless Forest Update

Last week the Bush administration announced massive changes to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, despite widespread public and congressional support for the rule as originally adopted. The proposed changes would exempt Alaskaís Tongass National Forest from the rule, and allow individual states to file for an exemption from the rule. With these radical changes the administration is deceiving the American public into thinking they will "retain" the roadless rule and its balanced protections, while allowing timber companies access to these pristine areas.

Clearly this is not going over well with the American people, editorial boards across the country, or members of Congress. Just take a look at the response so far:

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate enacting the roadless rule into law. More than 150 members have signed-on as original cosponsors of the House legislation.

Following the administrationís proposed changes to the rule, members of Congress released statements and made speeches on the House floor condemning the Bush administrationís decision to gut the rule.
View the congressional response to roadless protection.

Editorial boards from across the country have written strongly in opposition to the administrationís proposed changes, including charges that the administration has sought from day one to undue decades of national forest protections, and that they are deceiving the American people by claiming to "retain" the rule, while they gut it. Here are a few examples:

Governor Response
Gov. Gary Locke of Washington and Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado both signaled their intention not to seek exemptions from the rule following the Presidentís announcement:

"Owens 'has no intention to request any exemptions at this point,' said his spokesman Dan Hopkins."
Denver Post, 6/10/03

"A spokesman for Gov. Gary Locke, said Washington doesn't need the exemption. ĎWe believe the current rules provide us with sufficient flexibility to deal with the issues highlighted today.í"
Tacoma News Tribune, 6/10/03

Conservation Community Response
Below are links to statements release by various conservation groups following the announcement:

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Contact: Tony Iallonardo, NET
(202) 887-8855

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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