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Heritage Forests Campaign Week In Review

June 7, 2001

For More Information: Le Evans, NET, 202-887-1342 or 202-487-7465 (cell)

1.6 MILLION & COUNTING: Bush "June" Deadline Looms for Next Comment Period

The Bush administration has said little since it decided to propose "amendments in early June" that could severely weaken the national forest conservation policy in the name of "local control" despite an historic 1.6 million comments, more than three years of study, and 600 public meetings.

IN THE STATES: Momentum Building In Defense of Roadless

Montana: AG Joins Lawsuit in Major Split with Gov.
Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath joined environmental groups in urging the Ninth Circuit to reinstate the forest conservation policy despite Governor Judy Martz's public statements in opposition to the rule. In the friend-of-the-court brief, Montana's top law enforcement officer argued that Montana citizens had plenty of opportunity to comment on the rule- with 34 public meetings and 17,429 public comments in Montana alone. Gov. Martz has said that the rule did not include local input and would prevent access to state lands.

Wisconsin: Secretary of State Steps Into the Ring
Wisonsin Secretary of State Doug LaFollette weighed in on the roadless debate with a Capital Times (Wisc.) editorial in which he said, "The public is about to be poorly served by the White House and their unwillingness to support the roadless area plan for our national forests."

ENERGY and PUBLIC LANDS: Drill, Drill, Drill-- With A Little Help from My Friends

Even though southern Wyoming and northwestern Colorado contain less than 5% of known natural gas resources and there are plenty of unprotected areas available for drilling, the Bush administration released a report that advocates the roll back of protections for the area's national forests, parks, and monuments. The report was written by Advanced Resources International, a consulting company.

Denver billionaire Phil Anshutz, who contributed more than $300,000 to Bush and the GOP, has gained some unwanted attention from Congressional Democrats. Anshutz won permission to drill an exploratory oil well in an area considered sacred to several Indian tribes just a few days after President Bush was inaugurated, causing uproar among tribes, environmentalists, and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, the ranking Democrat on the House Resources Committee. "The Anschutz debate plays into an ongoing battle in the Rocky Mountain states where the petroleum industry complains that it's cut off from huge petroleum reserves because of restrictions on public lands. Environmentalists counter that very little public land is restricted to development and what restrictions there are exist for a reason."

ON THE HILL: Lieberman May Hold Hearings On the 'Card Memo'

Senator Joe Lieberman (D- Conn.), the new chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, "will follow up on a letter he sent a month ago to Andrew H. Card Jr., Mr. Bush's chief of staff, expressing concern about plans to alter certain regulations, including those governing roads in national forests he would possibly hold hearings on the issues."

  • (Lizette Alvarez, The New York Times, May 25, 2001)

NOTE: For copies of all stories, please contact Le Evans at 202-887-1342.

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