FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 13, 2000
Contact: Steve Holmer, 202/547-9105 or Anne Martin, 202/547-9095
Roadless Area Policy Bans Logging & Roadbuilding on 50 Million Acres
Conservationists Seek to Close Loopholes
Americans have delivered a mandate for the protection of our remaining National Forest roadless areas. More Americans have participated in this rule-making process than in any other federal rule-making ever, almost two million official public comments have been counted by the Forest Service in the last year, with more than 95% supporting the strongest possible protection for our wild forests.
"We laud the Forest Service for listening to the American people and improving their proposal in the Final EIS," said Anne Martin, field director for the American Lands Alliance. "By proposing a prohibition on commercial logging in roadless areas, and providing a framework for inclusion of the Tongass Rainforest in Alaska, the Forest Service has moved towards a common sense and responsible public policy for wild forest protection."
"We are hopeful that in his final analysis, President Clinton will strengthen the final proposal by restricting, in his plan, potentially damaging 'stewardship' logging activities that would be allowed under the Forest Service proposal, and by according immediate protection from logging and road building for the wild areas in the Tongass Rainforest," said Martin. "We cannot leave our last, best pristine forests to the whims of the shifty political winds that are now blowing."
"Roadless areas have been identified by scientists as having the highest ecological integrity and the least need for restoration," said Martin. "Instead of logging these relatively pristine backcountry areas in the name of 'forest health', stewardship activities such as hazardous fuels removal should take place in the urban/wildlands interface zone to protect lives and property."
"The most glaring problems are no controls for harmful off-road vehicles (ORVs), and loopholes that could allow mining, oil and gas leasing and grazing to continue," said Martin. "The President can strengthen the final policy by closing these loopholes and providing direction to the agency to protect roadless areas from the impacts of ORVs."
"In its FEIS, the Forest Service has loaded the bases and now President Clinton should step up to bat and knock home this grand slam for forest protection," said Steve Holmer, campaign coordinator for American Lands. "If the final policy bans all logging, addresses the impacts of out-of-control ORV use and immediately protects the Tongass, this would insure the most important lands conservation legacy of the last 100 years."
"A strong roadless area protection policy is one of the most important legacies we can leave for our children," said Holmer. "We urge the Forest Service and President Clinton to heed this massive outpouring of public support in favor of complete protection, before the opportunity is lost."
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