A Win for Roadless Forests
by Rolf Skar
June 15, 2007
When you think of roads, do your National Forests come to mind? Maybe they should. The sad truth is that there are more miles of roads in our National Forests than in the Interstate Highway System – enough to circle the Earth seventeen times! All those roads and decades of clearcutting have made wild, roadless forests rare jewels…and even more critical to conserve.
Millions of have weighed in on this issue, and the consensus is clear: Americans want their last roadless wildlands protected. The trouble is, the Bush Forest Service isn’t listening. Since the Roadless Area Conservation Rule was approved in 2001, they have fought to drive chainsaws, bulldozers and drills into our last wildlands. I guess that’s what happens when you put a guy like Mark Rey, a former logging industry lobbyist, in charge of the Forest Service. Fox in the hen house anyone?
Here’s the good news. Last week was a rough one for stump-lovers like Rey. On June 8th, a US District judge slapped down an attempt by the State of Wyoming to bring a nationwide ban on the Roadless Rule back from the dead. That means the Roadless Rule remains in effect, and 58 million acres of our best wildlands are safe from roadbuilding, industrial logging and oil and gas drilling.
The Wyoming ruling is expected to be appealed, and more court challenges are already on the way from anti-forest forces. This is nothing new. A dizzying swarm of lawsuits has buzzed around the Roadless Rule for years, leaving its fate in legal limbo. When will it stop? Maybe soon.
A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers recently introduced legislation to make the Roadless Rule into law. That would make it immune to lawsuits and permanently safeguard wild forests from Alaska to Alabama.
So, don’t just sit there – contact your members of Congress and tell them to get on board with the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2007. The sooner we pass this bill, the sooner we can give Mark Rey and his minions something better to do…