November 17, 2004
The new rule would establish an 18-month period in which governors from states with federal forests containing inventoried roadless areas could file a petition seeking to establish or modify the management of those areas. In effect, it would allow state-specific management of roadless areas and give states a greater voice in how these national forests are protected.
In a letter to Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, the governor said the most appropriate means of managing national forests should include a science-based planning process that is public and considers local, state and national input on social, economic and ecological values.
Alaska filed a lawsuit to permanently enjoin the current roadless rule. The state maintains the roadless rule violates the "no more" clause of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act as well as generally applicable federal statutes including the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Forest Management Act and the Wilderness Act.
Alaska contains more than 25 percent of the inventoried roadless area acreage in the nation, with 90 percent of the Tongass National Forest and 99 percent of the Chugach National Forest designated as roadless. Because both the Tongass and Chugach forest plans have been revised and each included a forest-wide road analysis, under the proposed rule they would be managed in accordance with their forest plans.
Source of News & Letter: