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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

July 12, 2001


1.6 MILLION & COUNTING: Bush Calls for 60-Day Comment Period

The Bush administration's announcement of another comment period to study the roadless rule was met with quick response from environmentalists, lawmakers, and editorial boards this week:

"This just looks like a page right out of Big Timber's playbook. The arguments used by the Bush administration to reopen the roadless area protection rule are just a smokescreen for their desire to allow timber, mining, and oil companies into the last remaining wild areas of the National Forests." - Jane Danowitz, Heritage Forests Campaign Director, July 6, 2001 Heritage Forests Campaign Press Release

"The American public will be closely watching what steps the Administration takes in the upcoming months regarding this rule. - Senator Jeff Bingaman (D- N.M.), Chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, July 6, 2001 Senator Bingaman's website

"The Bush administration is putting special interests ahead of the public interest."- Representative Maurice Hinchey (D- N.Y.), July 9, 2001 Representative Hinchey's website

"Environmental platitudes should not be allowed to cloak anti-environmental actions. The public should make itself heard once again on the national forests. This time, the Bush administration should listen." - The Roanoke Times, June 10, 2001

"Senator Cantwell is disappointed by the U.S. Forest Service's decision to revise the Roadless Forest Protection RuleŠ It was the result of a massive three-year effort by the Forest Service and Department of Agriculture, which included more than 600 public meetings in local communities nationwide and 1.6 million public comments- there were 60,000 comments from Washington state alone- the most extensive public outreach in the history of the National Environmental Policy Act."-Larry West, Senior Aide to Senator Maria Cantwell (D - Wash), July 9, 2001 Senator Cantwell's website

ADDING INSULT TO INJURY: Bush Refuses To Appeal Despite Promises of Roadless Defense

Despite Attorney General John Ashcroft's pledge to "defend the rule," the Bush administration failed to appeal a preliminary injunction imposed by Judge Edward Lodge to prevent the implementation of the roadless rule.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D- Wash.) responded:

"I am personally disappointed by Attorney General (John) Ashcroft's decision to leave the preliminary injunction unchallenged and his failure to live up to the promises he made to me, the rest of the United States Senate and the American people about his commitment to upholding the law." - Senator Maria Cantwell, July 10, 2001

COMMENT PERIOD UNFOLDS: Environmentalists Urge Americans to Speak Out Again

In light of the Bush administration's apparent attempt to dismantle the roadless rule, environmental groups are urging citizens from around the country to express their support for protecting the last 30 percent of wild national forests by submitting comments to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Heritage Forests Campaign has also prepared a briefing book, Protecting America's National Forests: Saving the Last Wild 30% to provide reporters with background information regarding the continuing fight over the future of our national forests.

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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.

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