Breaking News: Senate and House Introduce Roadless Legislation

From: American Lands Alliance Date: May 24, 2007 Today, May 24, 2007, more than 140 US House Democrats and Republicans, led by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA), Christopher Shays (R-CT), George Miller (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) re-introduced the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2007, that would provide permanent protection for 58.5 million acres of pristine forest land in 39 states. This would include 9.3 million acres of North America’s only coastal temperate rainforest -- Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Warner (R-VA), along with 16 of their colleagues, re-introduced the companion bill in the US Senate. Passage of Roadless legislation will ensure that roadless areas are permanently protected without jeopardy from changing administrations. While protecting the last one-third of our threatened national forests from most logging and road-building, the bill allows new roads to be constructed in order to fight fires and ensure public health and safety. Your help is needed. Both the House and Senate legislation need more congressional support. Click here to send a letter to your Representative and Click here to send a letter to your Senators today and urge them to cosponsor the Roadless legislation. What’s at Stake The September 2006 repeal of the Bush administration Roadless rule by Federal Judge Elizabeth LaPorte reinstated the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule that limits road building, logging and other development on about 50 million acres of roadless areas in our national forests. These areas provide unmatched opportunities for camping, hiking, and other recreational activities, valuable habitat for fish and wildlife, and abundant supplies of clean drinking water. Judge LaPorte found that the Bush administration acted illegally in reversing the 2001 Roadless Rule. The Bush administration rule required governors to petition the federal government to protect national forests in their states and would have allowed states to build logging roads through millions of roadless acres of publicly owned national forests. While this legal victory presently affords protections for these public lands, their future is uncertain and they continue to be at risk. The Administration continues to accept state petitions for exemption from the Roadless Rule under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), thus leaving roadless areas vulnerable on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, it is essential that the 2001 Rule be codified into law.