by Robert Vandermark and Tiernan Sittenfeld
July 13, 2004
Contrary to their contention, the Forest Service is not modifying the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, they are ending the rule in its entirety. On the day this new policy goes into effect, not a single acre of the National Forests protected under the Roadless Rule will be safe from the timber industry.
Contrary to their contention that the rule is not in effect because of legal rulings, their real aim is to cut down legal appeals pending in the courts to keep the rule in effect. They promised to defend the rule in the courts, but that promise was quickly abandoned to serve timber interests. Cynically, the Administration is using the pending litigation as a smokescreen to renege on their May 4, 2001 public promise to "uphold" the roadless rule.
Contrary to the mission of the Forest Service, which is the protection of National Forests, the Administration's action essentially gives away the remaining 30 percent of the National Forest lands left unprotected to the timber industry. Forest protection is the job of the Forest Service, not the job of state governors who simply don't have the staff, expertise or often the political will to conserve our last wild areas.
The substitute policy announced by the Administration is entirely unworkable and they know it. Few, if any, Governors are going to spend their limited resources and political capital asking the Forest Service to protect these remaining wild areas when they know at the end of the day the Administration will protect timber industry profits, not the environmen
Robert Vandermark and Tiernan
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