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Protecting America's National Forests, a report by the Heritage Forests Campaign

Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

February 25, 2003




Wilderness Decision
A final decision from the Bush Administration on whether to designate new wilderness in Alaska's Tongass National Forests – the world’s largest intact coastal temperate rainforest -- is expected Friday. This is the administration's first large-scale wilderness decision and will significantly affect Tongass roadless areas. In May, President Bush released a draft recommendation of no new wilderness. Anticipating the pending wilderness decision, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) attached last-minute language to Congress' massive spending package this month that eliminates citizen's right to appeal this decision. For more information click here or visit the Alaska Rainforest Coalition


Sierra Nevada Framework
The U.S. Forest Service is expected to release it recommendations next week to weaken the Sierra Nevada Framework, a management plan for the 11 forests of the Sierra Nevada. The proposed measures would allow logging trees as large as 30 inches in diameter, decrease a mandatory foliage cover from 50 percent to 40 percent, among other changes - marking a shift from a management plan based on conservation to one based on logging.


The public comment period for the Bush Administration's revised National Forest Management Act Regulations (NFMA) will end March 6th. These revised forest planning regulations weaken environmental review and public participation for 155 million acres of national forest lands around the country, as well as eliminate specific protections for roadless areas. For more information visit HFC's pressroom or Defenders of Wildlife


Mark Rey
On Feb. 13, 2003, at the full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Mark Rey, Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment , Department of Agriculture testified that the Bush Administration plans to release an amended Roadless Rule in the next couple of months. Despite overwhelming public support for the rule as adopted in January 2001, the Administration, at the behest of big timber, is working to undermine roadless protection with an amended rule.

Following a victory in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals where the Roadless Rule was upheld, a separate decision is pending in Wyoming Federal District Court. A total of nine cases have been filed against the rule by timber companies and their allies. For more information on the court battle click here or HFC's press release.

Roadless Riders
Under intense pressure from Congress and the public, Appropriators rid Congress’ massive spending package of language added at the last-minute by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) that would have exempted the entire state of Alaska from the Roadless Rule. Other harmful forest riders remained, including expansion of a controversial “trees as fees” program allowing timber companies to log big trees in exchange for clearing brush. For more information please check out Alaska Rainforest Coalition's press release.

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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 working together to uphold protection of our National Forests. Heritage Forests Campaign's partners include Alaska Rainforest Coalition, American Hiking Society, Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, National Environmental Trust, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, US PIRG, and The Wilderness Society.

Photos of Forests