Protect the Tongass and Chugach National Forests from Bush Administration Attacks|
2003-07-22, 7:49 p.m.
The Bush administration has acted to remove protections for the Chugach and Tongass National Forests in Alaska, effectively gutting much of the historic Roadless Rule signed by President Clinton. The ink isn't even dry on the Federal Register announcement of the 30-day public comment period, yet the administration has already begun planning for industrial-scale logging in areas of the Tongass currently protected by the Rule. A public outcry is needed to impress upon the Bush administration the importance of protecting these last remaining roadless areas.
The Tongass National Forest has been decimated by logging - more than 70 percent of the biggest trees have already been clearcut. What's more, there is strong public support for protecting these wild areas. During the development of the Roadless Rule, 2.2 million public comments were received in favor of enacting the conservation policy - more than have been received for any other federal rule making process in history. Unbelievably, the Bush administration claims that the original rule was rushed through without enough public participation.
The truth is that this is just the initial attack on the Roadless Rule. Further attacks are expected in the next few months, including a plan that would allow governors to apply for exemptions for their states.
Urge Forest Chief Dale Bosworth to support the Roadless Area Conservation Rule as it was issued in January 2001 and oppose the proposed exemptions of the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.
WAYS TO TAKE ACTION:
Forest Chief Dale Bosworth
Dear Chief Bosworth,
I strongly support the Roadless Area Conservation Rule as it was issued in January 2001 and oppose the proposed exemptions of the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.
The Roadless Rule was enacted after an extremely rigorous rule making process. In the end, scientists and citizens alike overwhelmingly agreed that the last remaining wild forests should be protected from road building, commercial logging, mining and drilling. The rainforests of Alaska, which make up one-quarter of our nation's roadless forests, should be included in this policy.
Please accept this as my official comment opposing the proposed temporary exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule and the advance notice of proposed rulemaking to make permanent the Tongass exemption and extend it to the Chugach National Forest (36 CFR Parts 219 and 294).
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