Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Bush Regime Moves to Open Roadless Forests to Logging

JULIET EILPERIN WASHINGTON POST - The Bush administration said yesterday it plans to overturn a Clinton-era rule that made nearly 60 million acres of national forest off-limits to road-building and logging, setting aside one of the most sweeping land preservation measures in decades. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman proposed replacing the Clinton rule with a policy that would allow governors to petition the federal government if they wished to keep certain areas roadless. She said this approach would encourage cooperation between state and federal officials and end the litigation that has dogged Clinton's "roadless" rule since its inception...

Environmentalists were quick to decry the proposal, which will be subject to public comment for the next 60 days. They noted that nearly 2.5 million Americans submitted comments when Clinton considered the issue, with the vast majority favoring the roadless policy. "It's another case of the Bush administration having happy talk on the environment, but it's basically rape and pillage," said Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold, who has defended the rule in Idaho, Wyoming and D.C. courts. "The broader debate is: Should [national forests] be devoted to development and corporate subsidies, or should they be set aside for amenity uses like wildlife protection and places where people can go to avoid the crush of civilization?"

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