July 6, 2010

Responding to the recent announcement regarding the reinstatement of the Clinton-era roadless rule protecting 58.5 million acres of national forests, Greenpeace Executive Director, John Passacantando issued the following statement:

"Under the Bush administration, we have witnessed the largest unravelling of environmental protections including the attempt to gut the Clinton Roadless Rule protecting millions of acres of national forests. Today, we feel that justice is being served and the voices of the American people are finally being heard with the reinstatement of these protections.

 "Regrettably, one of our most pristine areas, the Tongass National Forest in Alaska remains unprotected even with this decision. The Bush administration's effort to gut forest protections has been made without consideration of ecology, economics, biology, cost to communities, or common sense, but Greenpeace will continue to fight for its protection."

Background: Today, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco sided with the Governors of New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, the State Attorney of California, and 20 environmental groups including Greenpeace and reinstated the Clinton rule thereby throwing out the Bush administration's roadless petition plan.

The Clinton rule put 58.5 million acres of national forest off-limits to road building, logging, and other development. In 2003, the Bush administration exempted America's largest national forest, the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, from the rule, and the administration later gutted the Roadless Rule nationwide. The litigation addressed both actions. Today's court order reinstated the Roadless Rule, but exempted the Tongass National Forest.

Approximately 2.5 million Americans commented on the Roadless Rule after it was proposed in 1998. More than 95 percent of these people supported the proposed ban on new road building in our largest tracts of undeveloped forest.

Contact: Jane Kochersperger, Greenpeace Media Officer, 202-415-5477 cell

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