Concerned Care2 members have been pushing to reinstate the Roadless Rule since President Bush effectively overturned it in 2005. The Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule protected more than 58 million acres of national forests and grasslands from logging and road construction, but President Bush made it a voluntary process, up to each state’s governor — leaving our forests open to logging, mining and drilling and the wildlife that inhabited them with little or no protection.
Luckily, President Obama is a big fan of the Roadless Rule — and he made good on a campaign promise late last week when he issued an immediate “time out” on road-building in our national forestlands, reinstating the Clinton-era rules for one year. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack now has the ability to approve or deny road-building or logging in the areas.
This is a huge success for a number of Care2′s nonprofit partners, and especially for the Pew Environment Group, who’ve been pushing the Obama Administration for this exact one-year timeout. More than 16,000 Care2 members signed a Pew-sponsored petition earlier this year urging Secretary Vilsack to do exactly what he’s done — making this a tremendous victory for our nation’s pristine forestlands and for everyone at Care2 and Pew Environment Group!
Indeed, the ruling’s most immediate effect will be to halt plans for road construction in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, including more than 35 miles of roads that were slated to be developed as part of a pending timber sale.
This great policy change for our forests goes to show that your signature on petitions really does make a difference — and we can all be pleased when our treasured national forests are protected for future generations.