Heritage Forests Campaign Once They're Gone, They're Gone Forever
The Roadless Rule
Threats to Roadless Areas
Politics and Policy
America's Roadless Areas
Enjoying Your Wild Forests
Roadless Areas by State
Get Involved
Fact Sheets & Reports
Roadless Cartoons
About HFC
April Fools
Check out our ad archive
Join The Heritage Forests Campaign
Let your friends know about Heritage Forests Campaign

Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

September 2, 2003

Major Businesses, Quarter of a Million Americans Reject Bush Administration Rainforest Logging Proposal

WASHINGTON More than a quarter of a million Americans joined major businesses today in opposing the Bush administration's recent proposal to exempt Alaska's Tongass and Chugach National Forests from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

"In just over a month, more than a quarter of a million Americans wrote the Bush administration in defense of their natural heritage," said Robert Vandermark, Co-Director, Heritage Forests Campaign. "The American people do not want their rain forest logged and major corporations have told President Bush they don't need old-growth trees in the Tongass to do business. This is nothing more than another handout to the administration's political allies."

In recent weeks, home builder KB Home, office supply company Staples Inc. and Hayward Lumber Inc., a building materials supplier, sent letters to the U.S. Forest Service opposing the Tongass exemption from the roadless rule. At the close of the official public comment period today, more than 285,000 Americans have sent letters in opposition to the proposal. The administration will likely finalize its decision within a month and is expected to announce another proposal allowing states to opt out of the rule.

The roadless rule protects 58.5 million acres of America's last unroaded forests in 39 states, including 9 million acres in the Tongass and 5 million in the Chugach. The rule was adopted in January 2001 following years of scientific study, hundreds of public hearings across the country, and more than 1.6 million comments. To date, the Forest Service has received nearly 2.5 million comments supporting the rule.

"This is the most popular rule in the history of the United States," said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Conservation Advocate, U.S. PIRG. "Americans treasure our last wild forests, and it is time for the Bush administration to stop catering to a few powerful interests and start adhering to the public interest. If the Tongass exemption is allowed, more than 50 timber sales in roadless areas will move forward -- devastating these public lands forever."

The Tongass National Forest is home to centuries-old trees providing critical habitat for wolves, grizzly bears, wild salmon, bald eagles and other wildlife that have disappeared from many other parts of the country. During the last 45 years, the Alaska timber industry has logged more than one million acres of old-growth forest and built 5,000 miles of logging roads in the Tongass. According to the General Accounting Office, these roads and timber sales have been subsidized with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

# # #

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.

Photos of Forests