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FORESTS: States Sue to Bring Back Roadless Rule August 30, 2005 10:20 PM

FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY
States Sue to Bring Back Roadless Rule
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August 30, 2005
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Forests.org

California, New Mexico and Oregon have filed a lawsuit against the Bush
administration for dismantling restrictions on roadbuilding and logging in
nearly 58.5 million acres of United States' last roadless forest
wildernesses.  This continues the tug of war over what happens to these
pristine large roadless forests.  The Bush administration has tried
devious and underhanded means to open these areas to development.  Perhaps
the best we can hope for until the Toxic Texan rides off into the sunset
is for the issue to be tied up in the courts until he is gone.
g.b.

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RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: California, New Mexico, Oregon Sue to Bring Back Roadless Rule
Source: Copyright 2005, Environment News Service
Date: August 30, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO, California, August 30, 2005 (ENS) - The states of
California, New Mexico and Oregon today filed a lawsuit against the Bush
administration for dismantling restrictions on roadbuilding and logging in
nearly 58.5 million acres of the country's remaining backcountry and
undeveloped forests.

On May 13, 2005, the Bush administration repealed the so-called Roadless
Rule, a wide-ranging regulation issued under President Bill Clinton that
prohibits roadbuilding and logging in inventoried roadless areas of the
National Forest System.

The Bush administration replaced the Clinton rule with a regulation that
requires states to work with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to determine
the fate of individual forests rather than managing forests as a whole.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said today, "I am filing this
lawsuit because the Bush administration is putting at risk some of the
last, most pristine portions of America's national forests."

"Roadbuilding simply paves the way for logging, mining and other kinds of
resource extraction," said Lockyer. "Far too much of our national forests
have been trammeled and overlogged because of the maze of logging roads
that have been bulldozed over the years by timber companies."

Lockyer was joined in the lawsuit by Attorney General of New Mexico
Patricia Madrid and Oregon Governor Ted Kulongsoki, a Democrat. The
complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
California.

Governor Kulongoski said, "This administration made great promises to the
states about working as partners when it comes to managing and protecting
our national forestlands - however its action has yet to match its
rhetoric."

"The 2005 rule turns the clock back on years of work, including millions
of public comment and millions of taxpayers' dollars, and the end result
is greater uncertainty about the protection of our special roadless areas
- not greater security," said the governor.

Lockyer, a Democrat in the Republican administration of Governor Arnold
Swarzenegger, said the three Western states joined forces to challenge the
repeal because they have a common interest in protecting pristine national
forest lands, declining fish runs dependent on unaltered streams, and the
quality and quantity of drinking water. Water flowing from national forest
lands provides one-third of the West's fresh water.

"Our water supply comes from our forests and depends upon those forests
remaining healthy," said Attorney General Madrid, who serves in the
administration of Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat who was part of the
Clinton cabinet as energy secretary at the time the Roadless Rule was
promulgated.

"The federal government acknowledges that roadbuilding and timber harvest
will result in decreased water quality, increased sediment and pollutants,
yet they refuse to protect our state's few remaining pristine areas."

States have 18 months from the repeal date - May 13, 2005 - to petition
the federal government to open the lands to roads and development or to
keep them protected.

States have expressed concern over the administrative burdens of
participating in the petition process, and voiced uncertainty about
whether the USFS will grant petitions requesting high levels of protection
for roadless areas.

The lawsuit is part one of Governor Kulongoski's three part plan to ensure
Oregon%u2019s roadless areas are protected.

The governor also is petitioning the secretary of agriculture, who has
jurisdiction over the Forest Service, to adopt a streamlined rule for
states that want the protections un  [ send green star]
 
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