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Was the road to the roadless rule paved with bad tactics?

Greens and Clintonites may have used unfair methods to push the roadless rule through. Does it matter?
1. No. In this case, the ends justify the means. 66 (54.10%)
2. Yes. The rule should be thrown out. 40 (32.79%)
3. The feds should stay out of it. Let the states decide. 9 (7.38%)
4. None of the above, I've got my own take on things (see my comment below). 7 (5.74%)

Total Votes: 122

Roadless Rule Poll
Michelle H.
Michelle H.
Nov 03, 2009 01:12 PM
The poll wording makes it difficult to answer accurately. In my opinion, yes - for the most part - the process in enacting the rule was generally fair. Saying "the ends justifies the means" implicates the respondent in a moral morass. I do not believe that "in this case, the ends justifies the means." In this case, a terrific grassroots campaign met with big group lobbyists, pols & recreation industry to promote something that resulted in big conservation with huge numbers of citizens in support. Necessary conservation. Long-term benefits conservation. If one guy or a few say that it was formulated to happen the way it did - last minute - he can hardly be congratulated. Too many moving parts on something like this. Did it have an edge since the administration wanted it? Yes. But that doesn't make it wrong or evil. If science can show that this was NOT a good rule and causes more harm than good to forest lands, then I'm open to hearing how it should be different. Given what conservation is up against anymore (billions of dollars in lobbying by industry), I don't see a thing wrong with the "means" implemented "in this case."
roadless was an example of true grassroots action at work
Nov 03, 2009 02:16 PM
I'm not sure I understand the premise of this poll. The Roadless Area Conservation Rule is the most widely reviewed policy in the history of federal lands rulemaking. Your poll creates the impression there's something nefarious about this process. I'm stumped. Why so much spin from High Country News?

Your Nov. 2 story fails to represent the true standing of the roadless rule. The 9th circuit federal court decided, in August, to uphold the rule. The Obama administration just weighed in today in the 10th circuit that the roadless rule is sound. Your angle is unique - focusing on one judge's push to undo the rule - but you're out in the weeds. Get your facts straight, please.
key 9th circuit decision
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Nov 03, 2009 07:12 PM
The recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision referred back to the key 9th Circuit decision in 2002. It would be extremely unusual for a circuit court to overrule a decision one of its panels made only seven years ago. My story discusses the key 2002 decision and says it's still the basis for subsequent court decisions on roadless in the area covered by the 9th Circuit. My story also reports that the judge who wrote that key 2002 decision was a Clinton appointee who pointed out that roadless forests produce oxygen.
John Sanns
John Sanns
Nov 03, 2009 01:44 PM
What a terribly written poll question. HCN, you can and should do better than that. I am VERY disappointed in this and the story today - not very good reporting or complete reporting which I have come to expect from you guys.
not my poll
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Nov 08, 2009 08:17 PM
Please note: this poll is not my idea.
I worked on this issue
Jim O'D
Jim O'D
Nov 03, 2009 01:54 PM
I worked for well over a year as a volunteer for a conservation group in the late 90s on this issue. I went around the southwest (NM, CO, AZ) talking to local county commissioners and chambers of commerce and other interested parties about the rule and well-before it was finalized. While I heard some opposition to the proposed rule, I also heard many in support. This was a very inclusive process wherein people were informed, had a chance to answer questions and particiapte in public hearings and comment on the rule. I found it amazing that when the rule finally came out some of those same electeds and community leaders I had sat down and talked this over with cried foul and claimed it was "sprung" on them with no notice. They blatenly lied.

There were not unfair methods and the process, while not perfect, was VERY inclusionary and very neccesary.

I've come to feel over the past 4-5 years that we should go right ahead and designate all these areas as wilderness under the 1964 act and then be done with it. Enough whining.
Roadless Rule
Nov 03, 2009 03:05 PM
I came out west in 1977 and the conflict of RARE 1 or 2 was all the rage. That was more than 30 years ago. I think it's ironic and pitiful that we need one EIS after another to figure out how to best save what's left of the wilds out here. I mean I keep hearing how Clinton's rule was "rushed" through. If 30 years is rushing something through I'll be near dead by the time it's "rushed" through again.
I have lived in Idaho for 23 years. Maybe Clinton's and the enviro's tactics were unethical but no more unethical than anti-enviros. Just go to any hearing in the Republican controlled Statehouse and watch public testimony, especially when it comes to environmental matters. People testify, letters and emails are sent, most are in favor of a pro-environmental cause. But the legislative decisions never reflect that public sentiment. Too often, it seems legislators have already made their minds up before input is given.
I went to hear the Idaho Roadless Rule "discussion". We didn't have a public hearing here in Boise, people were only allowed to speak their dissent. Like the Republican legislature, that Republican decision seemed to be decided long before anyone gave their input.
So, bottom line, if anti-environmentalists can push, and coerce policy and decision making so can pro-environmentalists. And isn't it just sour grapes when they lose once in a while?
They built grassroots support
Nov 03, 2009 03:57 PM
The Roadless Rule was needed to halt the piecemeal loss of national forest roadless areas. The national campaign built grassroots support for those lands in every state that has a national forest. Thank goodness foundations supported this with their money, and thank goodness President Clinton and his appointees saw the wisdom of the idea and worked to make it a reality.
Roadless Ruling
Nov 03, 2009 04:04 PM
So what's new about the environmental community lying and cheating to get what they want?? Just look at the wolf issue. A "deal" was struck on numbers of wolves before the states took over management. It all changed. Look at the original roadless effort; it changed critera to the point that even areas with roads and a forest management plan in place, got placed into "roadless"....with alot of roads already there. No, you wacko's need to abide by and with the law for a change.
2001 Roadless Rule
Jim Trenholm
Jim Trenholm
Nov 03, 2009 04:26 PM
Yes, The road to the roadless rule was paved with not only bad, but dishonest tactics. It started about a dozen years ago, when Mike Dombeck, a political pawn whose mission was to help elect Al Gore POTUS, proposed an 18-month moratorium on road construction and reconstruction in roadless areas. Does that make sense?

Federal Judge Clarence Brimmer was correct in his 2003, 2008 and 2009 rulings. The 2003 and 2008 rulings were ignored by George W. Bush and his appointees. The Obama/Biden/Vilsack Administration is apparently appealing Brimmer's rulings. Cheyenne Attorney Harriet Hageman and Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal know the situation and have clearly expressed it several times. Mark Ward, Utah Association of Counties and Utah Governor Gary Herbert well understand the situation too. Basically, the 2001 Roadless Rule was both unnecessary and unlawful. If the USDA and Forest Service is still interested in multiple use management, an adequate transportation system to protect, manage and use our national forests and their resources, particularly renewable resources (wood, water, forage, wildlife and recreation)is necessary. Wilderness areas are OK, but not all. All roadless area inventories should be declared moot except those recommended for wilderness designation, starting with all National Forest System lands in Utah and Wyoming.

Jim Trenholm,
The Stewardship Group
Roy, Utah 84067
(801) 731-4817
Unfair poll
Nov 03, 2009 04:53 PM
Talk about "unfair tactics." Give me a break. This poll is indefensible.

I usually love Ray's unique reporting style, but this is not good reporting. For instance the assertion that New Mexico wanted to protect "most" of its roadless areas is wrong. The state supported the roadless rule and second suppported including even more land into the protection than the original rule did (from land in Valle Vidal that was added to the forest after the roadless surveys were done).

Disappointing work. I hope HCN takes a hard look at this sort of button-pushing journalism, and decides it is better to be accurate than "controversial."
NM position
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Nov 03, 2009 07:21 PM
I found reports that New Mexico wanted to protect all its roadless forests. I also noticed that NM challenged the Bush rollback in court -- the Bush rollback that offered states the opportunity to decide roadless. That caused me to wonder, if NM really wanted to protect all its roadless forests, why didn't it just tell the Bush admin it wanted to protect all its roadless forests? I think NM's leaders didn't want to turn the issue over to NM state politics because it would've been contentious. So I tempered my summation just a bit, writing that NM wanted most of its roadless forests protected. The sentence is part of an argument that says it might've been OK to turn roadless over to the states, and the meaning doesn't change whether NM wanted all or most of its roadless protected.
A fair process
Nov 03, 2009 05:28 PM
The process for adopting the roadless rule was as open, transparent, and fair as for any rulemaking in history.
roadless areas
bruce hayse
bruce hayse
Nov 03, 2009 05:31 PM
What a worthless article. I don't normally read Ray Ring's articles; not interested in his pervasive attempts to denigrate environmentalists, but was interested that anyone would write about Brimmer and his one man campaign to defeat any attempt to restore ecological sanity to public land management. But this article as well just appeared to be an attempt to subtly undermine what is probably the most progressive piece of forest legislation since the Wildrrness Act. Having spent my life in the intermountain west it is funny however to always be able to predict the slant of typical eastern intellectual like Ray Ring - you always know that the crusty old ignorant red neck is going to come off as the sympathetic figure. Still disappointing, considering Brimmers long and dirty history of always siding with the most destructive corporate side. If this wrere the south he would stilll be attempting to overturn integration.
eastern intellectual?
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Nov 03, 2009 07:25 PM
You must be thinking of someone else with this characterization of me. Also you dismiss the thousands of Forest Service staffers who thought Clinton's rule was illegal, along with other facts in my story.
Ray bashing is in vogue. Get your shot in!
Nov 05, 2009 09:46 AM
I get a real kick out of folks bashing Ray for a news article. You are aware, aren’t you, that you are not exactly an objective reader? You are aware, aren’t you, that you are only leveling personal attacks at Mr. Ring while bringing no arguments to the table as to what assertions in his article are wrong? You are aware, aren’t you, that your "we can do no wrong" attitude actually blinds you and could hurt your cause? You do realize, don't you, that calling HCN a right wing rag is laughably ludicrous?
Appeaseing the Earthrapers
Nov 03, 2009 07:58 PM
The author writes his piece bowing to the resource extraction industry, and suggesting that the public does not support the roadless rule. Which public, I ask.
Personally, I find it laughable to assume that his example of a public meeting overrun with wild eyed greenies keeping out a crowd of angry truckers has any authenticity to it at all.
I've been to quite a few public meetings, and the aggressive, obnoxious types who think trees were invented for chainsaws, and atvs should drive through every inch of public land will never resort to standing outside to protest because some gorp gobbling peacenicks have taken all the seats!
In my state, the majority of people support roadless areas. Hikers, birdwatchers, and back country hunters love these places.
I also take exception to the notion that the Forest Service timidly goes on protecting roadless areas. Without the force of public opinion, the Forest Service will move to weaken the rule to the point of meaninglessness. In my own area, the Forest Service has removed a small, but critical non-motorized roadless area from current maps, most conveniently, this area is now proposed for a dirtbike trail. The second roadless area in my neck of the woods is also designated non-motorized, a fact which holds no importance whatsoever to the ohvers or the Forest Service.
The situation on the ground here is far from the one alluded to in the article. Roadless areas are a nice idea, but they are in fact little more than another law to be circumnavigated by the Forest Service and their favored interests.
Personally, I am happy that roadless areas exist. The designation seems to slightly improve the condition of the land, and resident wildlife, but its far from the 400 pound gorilla of effete environmentalism suggested in the article.

Roadless, more useless wilderness
Wade Patrick
Wade Patrick
Nov 03, 2009 08:49 PM
The original wilderness bill was a great exercise in emotional logic, and too tell the truth, it wasn't that bad of an idea. But, and it's a big but, you crazy extremist environmentalist have pushed people out west to the point of open war.

You started with 9.1 Million acres, an expanse of land that is truly immense (you could litterly spend a lifetime exploring it), to today's 109.5 Million acres, 20% of the National Forest. An expanse of land 51 times the size of Yellowstone National Park. You've disenfranchised the motorized community, the human powered bicyclist, kite skiers, parachutist, gliders, most hunters, the disabled, aircraft, etc... Currently, horse users feel threatened, and all hunters should be looking over their shoulders. Oh, you claim Wilderness is heavily used, failing to mention that almost all Wilderness visitors, where in a National Park, or less than 3 miles from the car. Some visitors you claim there. And, you can always tell a community surrounded by wilderness, jobless mixed with elitist.

So, what happens when you disenfranchise nearly all real local forest users? Simple, you build resentment, hate, and.......

Now, your back for 54 Million acres more, another 20% of the National Forest, with three "secret" definitions, "Primitive" "Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized" and "Semi-Primitive Motorized". And, let us be truthful, eventually you intent to make most of this Wilderness. None of you can point to a Roadless map, and tell me which parts are motorized, and which will be closed (defacto-Wilderness), with any certainty. If your successful, between Wilderness, and Roadless, and all the other forest unit designations, you will have closed 50% of the National Forest.

Why do you guys hate the motorized community so much? Why can't you share? Why do you want to kill the one thing that I and my friends have found in our entire lives, that we love more than life itself? Why do you want to kill the freedom and liberty of your fellow Americans? Do you guys even understand the kind of excitement, and happiness we derive from riding a snowmobile 15 miles back in the Mountains, on 12 feet of snow? Have you ever not been able to sleep the night before doing something fun? Happens to me every Friday night, during the winter. Why do you lie about the effects of snowmobiles? If you think there too loud, then make rules about noise, if you think their too polluting, and expend some political capital making snowmobles cleaner (of course all of this is already going on). But, don't just point to a segment of the public, with your accusing finger, and claim that group doesn't have any rights, and declare them scelerat non grata.

Us motorized forest users aren't the haters here, it's you. We are happy to share with everyone, you, you can't share with anyone. Land of Multiple Uses, will become Land of only one Use. That's when you'll loose it all. Mark my words. Republics last a long time, Democracies never last. Look it up.
Roadless Rule a Monument to Lies, Illogic, and Arrogance
Jerry King
Jerry King
Nov 04, 2009 10:47 AM
The Roadless Rule is founded on lies--that the "roadless" areas are all wild and even that they are roadless. Many of the national forest "roadless" areas have trails that are used for motorized recreation, including Jeep trails that most reasonable people would consider to be a road. The rule is merely an admitted first step by wilderness advocates to have the entire 52 million acres designated as wilderness, which would ban offroad vehicles altogether. After 40 years of motorized recreation, these lands still exhibit "roadless values" and "wilderness values," but now they must be closed to preserve them? That assertion is not a conclusion of logical thinking, it is an expression of an arrogant disdain for fellow Americans who hold different values, who love nature but do not worship it, who believe that individual freedom is a value on par with wilderness values, and that environmental preservation must be balanced against the need for jobs and the hard resources needed to sustain our economy. Proponents of the rule claim it was promulgated in an open and inclusive manner. Then why do millions of Americans feel like it is being jammed down their throats? I and my fellow offroaders will continue to fight this rule with every resource we have at our command.
Those Who Cannot Walk
Nov 05, 2009 11:03 AM
Ohv'ers everywhere call themselves responsible, considerate, good guys in the Forest. Of course, if you are the one driving, it is easy to reach this conclusion. After all, as the driver, the noise and physical presence of one's machine does not present a problem, its the means to one's own personal enjoyment. Further, the hundreds of miles of vehicle trails that constantly pop up are seen as opportunity, not as an affront on the land. Those Who Cannot Walk love their machines, want to ride their machines everywhere, and are absolutely blind, deaf, and dumb to any other perspective. They are incapable of understanding the response they inspire through their own selfish activities. One example; A hunter in question had tracked the small Elk herd for most of the morning. The task was arduous, and time consuming. The Elk had not bedded down come full sunrise, they were wandering along the rolling hills that clipped the canyon rim. Our hunter stayed downwind, and was approaching the stalk. One particular Elk was the quarry. He was a good Bull, with plenty of good meat. Closer our hunter stalked, closing the distance to a little more than 100 yrds, quietly taking aim, waiting for his quarry to break free from the brush. Suddenly, from behind, comes the roar and whine of ohv's. The Elk get nervous, and refuse to leave the cover of the brush. Onward comes the whining roar, and over the hill comes several ohv's. They scatter the small herd, and ruin the hunt. Of course, to the ohvers, ignorance works to their advantage. They had no idea they just ruined a stalk, a shot, and a months worth of winter meat. When I ask ohvers whether they care how they impact the Forest, they reply with typical aggressive and dismissive responses.
Another example; Most locals are aware of a section of canyon closed to motorized vehicles. It's a short section of only a few miles, closed to protect the watershed and wildlife. Because it is closed to all motorized use, it is a favored place for boyscouts to camp-or at least it was, because for the last 10 years, ohv clubs, and individuals have protested this closure by destroying postings, cutting fences, wrecking gates, and roaring through at high speed. I personally have been present when ohvs roared through 2 separate camps at high speed, endangering life and limb of very young children. But then, I guess this is just "sharing" the forest.
Final example, my good friend owns 20 acres that cross a ridge line. The property has been in his family for 100 years. The local ohv club has decided to publish a "trail" through his property. Over the last 5 years, ohv'ers of all types are cutting his fences, vandalizing his property, and trespassing with complete disregard to his rights. The head of one local club told me personally, that as far as he is concerned, there is a trail there, and that they were going to continue to use it. Respect and responsibility by ohvers, where?
Three short examples, and I have dozens more.
Before any ohver starts up with the "I'm so responsible..." line of horsefeathers, the vandalizing, trespassing, hunt ruining ohvers are the one's who say they are "responsible" with a straight face.
Before any ohver starts up with the "It's a few bad apples..." routine, the truth is that the majority, including ohvers from out of state are pulling the same stunts.
I have been threatened by ohvers, my dog got hit by an ohver, I've had to take extreme measures to kick out trespassing ohvers who refused to leave private land.
Ohvers get juiced up on adrenaline, on aggression, on selfish dismissal of anyone or anything else. I've had years of experience with ohvs in the Forest. When the lies and propaganda spread by Those Who Cannot Walk finally settles down, the truth is both simple and evident. Most of the conflict, most of the illegal trails, most of the criminal activity, most of the aggression, most of the damage is caused by the ignorant masses on ohvs.
Speaking for the ignorant masses, ...
Jerry King
Jerry King
Nov 06, 2009 12:30 AM
According to Those Who Cannot Walk, I am an offroader, therefore I am aggressive, selfish, an adrenaline junkie, incapable of understanding the perspective of others, and a card-carrying member of the ignorant masses. Hmmm. Hard to know where to begin here. Let me start by noting that I can and do walk. I have gone on more wilderness backpacking trips than a lot of wilderness advocates, and I still go backpacking twice a year. I've also gone on lots of hunting trips. Therefore, I believe I can reasonably claim not to be blind to the perspectives of walkers and hunters. I have a PhD in earth science and have been a student of public land policy for years, so I think I can also reasonably claim not be ignorant. I ride dirt bikes, but I do not like riding at high speed, so I am definitely not an adrenaline junkie. The point is that demonizing an entire category of people and declaring that they all have unsavory characteristics and diminished capacities because they enjoy riding offroad vehicles is simply invalid.

One characteristic of offroaders that generally does apply is that they are angry. Angry at being demonized, angry at being locked out of their own public lands. Offroaders have been promoted to the pantheon of environmental bogeymen, along with oil companies, timber companies, and mining interests. We now routinely grace the pages of environmental organizations' soliciting newsletters--send money now before OHVs destroy America's last remaining wild lands. There is common ground between the offroad community and environmentalists that could be explored, to work together to preserve open spaces and public access, but we have become more valuable to environmentalists as enemies than as friends. The battle over motorized recreation on public lands is not a battle we chose or started, but it is a battle we will fight. Motorized recreation can be managed without undue impacts on the environment, and there is more than enough public land to accommodate wilderness enthusiasts, hunters, and offroaders. The offroad community wants its fair share, and nothing less.
Poor ohvers
Nov 06, 2009 05:59 PM
Well, I would hope that anyone with an advanced degree would actually be capable of understanding what was written in entirety, and not simply cherry pick for details to argue with, alas, we find, once again, it is not so.
Omission is not discussion. I'll be happy to discuss real issues once ohvers can come clean regarding their persistent need to violate the law, and the rights of motor free use, as well as private landowners.
Perhaps you are one of the rare few who actually does refrain from trashing archaelogical sites, invading closed areas, and treating the forest as your personal racetrack, if so, my hat is off to you, yet your reply seeks to negate my own experience, and for that, I find your rebuttal of little value.
I will go so far as to state yet another example, that perhaps will be noted by at least a few. In a direct discussion with members of a local ohv organization, at a public meeting no less, they admitted off the record to riding in an area that has been closed to motorized use for two decades. Of course, these are the same people who ON THE RECORD are constantly claiming to be respectful, lawful, responsible riders, and that the people who actually commit these acts are simply a few bad apples. These good guys all were fully aware this area is closed, fully aware that it was a favored camp site for adults with children, simply because it is ostensibly non-motorized.
In order to ride in this area, they by necessity must destroy either fences or gates, which indeed they regularly do. They make sport of trashing postings, and have gone so far as to pull out and remove posting poles.
The ohvers have finally succeeded in chasing away the family backpackers-riding through camps with children at 50 mph will do that to responsible parents-so now they can vandalize, trash and ride with near impunity.
How dare you tell me that you are angry! You have no leg to stand on! You can ally yourself with any group you wish, but if you ally yourself with the criminal element, don't be so offended when you are seen in the same light.

Enviromental crap!
Doug Forseen
Doug Forseen
Nov 04, 2009 10:55 AM
  I'm not sure accactly what the roadless rule is but the tactics from the enviromentalists have been shakey and unethical for years. They can paint the worst of the worst pictures about there cause, true or false, and the people in the big citys (who never get out of town) think the world is fixing to end. The roads we have are getting closed down and it makes it hard for the eldrely and sickly to enjoy the mountains. I beleive in taking care of the enviroment but also enjoying it.
HCN's long slow tilt to the right
Nov 04, 2009 02:27 PM
"...used unfair methods to push the roadless rule through. Does it matter?"

Come on HCN, how about a return to honest reporting? Ray's article and this poll are hack hatchet journalism that seems better suited to the Mountain States Legal Foundation website than HCN. Bench Ring. He didn't even bother to complete his research - SUWA works exclusively on BLM lands in Utah; they have never published a single word about Forest Service Roadless. Just pathetic...

To answer the poll's loaded question as to "whether it matters" - NO. Roadless will be protected in spite of industry's underhanded tactics and Brimmer's twisted view of NEPA. Future generations will thank Obama and Vilsack, just as we now thank TR for reserving forests and parks in the first place.
Nov 06, 2009 10:24 AM
Sorry Ray, but I have to add my voice to the choir saying that based on your long history of good reporting, your take on this issue is ... unexpected. The poll questions are loaded. Consider this: both the number of comments and percentage of support for a national roadless rule were record-setting. In the subsequent and ongoing roadless rule drama here in CO, public support for maximum roadless protections, as did national support for the 2001 rule, remains in the 90+ percentile. It is clear what the people want and for those who have read the various Brimmer comments, it's clear the man should have retired long ago.
not my poll
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Nov 08, 2009 08:20 PM
Please note: this poll is not my idea.
roadless poll
R Yaeger
R Yaeger
Nov 08, 2009 12:45 PM
A very disappointing bit of thoughtless and biased polling on HCN’s part.

The question was, Does it matter [if the greens used unfair methods to push the roadless rule]?
The wording of the top two “answers” in this poll is a pretty good example of a “Have you stopped beating your wife?” question. Either answer forces you to accept the premise of the statement, namely that they DID use unfair methods.

If you say No, not only are you accepting that they used unfair methods, but you are agreeing that it was OK to do so because the ends justify the means. What if you agree that it doesn’t matter, but do NOT believe that the ends justify the means? Maybe you have an entirely different reason for saying “No, it doesn’t matter”.

If you say Yes, you’re still accepting that the statement is correct. But why does saying Yes have to mean you therefore want the rule thrown out? Perhaps you feel that it does matter that some of the tactics might have been shaky, but the process was open and inclusive for the most part and should not be thrown out (and has ANY human endeavor ever been 100% fair?).

Or any one of a long list of other reasons for either answer. To say nothing of the fact that you might disagree altogether that the statement is correct.

Trying to weasel out of this prejudicial slant by inserting a “None of the above” option at the end doesn’t excuse the bias. I expect better writing from HCN, and hope this piece of trumped up “controversy” is an aberration.
not my poll
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Nov 08, 2009 08:21 PM
Please note: this poll is not my idea.
Judge story (and poll) separately
Jonathan Thompson
Jonathan Thompson
Nov 08, 2009 09:06 PM
First off, Ray's right: This isn't his poll idea, it's mine, and he had nothing to do with it. Hopefully, readers will judge Ray's story on its own merits, and judge the poll separately. Mr. Yaeger is going over the top a bit when he says the poll answer "forces you to accept the premise of the statement." Actually, no, the poll forces nothing: You are always free to click away and not answer at all (or answer "none of the above"). Ray's story details the methods by which the rule was created, and it does so in a balanced, nonjudgmental way. The poll is intended to get at something else, and is actually pretty straightforward: IF the enviros used the same tactics that we deplore when industry uses them, is it okay? DO the ends justify the means? Mike Dombeck (see quote in Ray's story) seems to think so. Indeed, one can easily argue that when industry rigs the process, it's acting out of greed;, while enviros do so for the common good (an important distinction that could, theoretically, justify even the most tilted tactics). I was merely curious about what you all thought (realizing that the results of any poll like this must be taken with a grain of salt). And I figured the question would spark reader interest and encourage engagement via votes and comments. It obviously succeeded quite well. Thank you all for participating, and please keep it up.

Jonathan Thompson, Editor
Ends and Means
Nolan Patrick Veesart
Nolan Patrick Veesart
Nov 09, 2009 01:26 PM
The end rarely ever justifies the means. More likely is that the means determines the end. The use of force, violence, lies and trickery have a way of coming back to bite us. What goes around comes around.

But, in this case, I'm not sure why you singled out the Roadless Rules as the means by which to test that theory. I was a Roadless Rule organizer in Alaska, spoke with literally thousands of people about the rule and attended several of the public hearings held in rural Alaska to gather public input regarding the rule. It was the largest public process in the history of rule making in this country and the public's support was solidly there. I don't recall any lies or trickery being involved.
Don’t tell me you care about an open, collaborative process
Jan 21, 2010 10:03 AM
I finally got a few minutes to read Ring’s bit on the Roadless Rule, as well as articles about the Tester Bill. I’m struck by the hypocrisy of some enviros.

When Tester collaborates with quite a few interests but leaves out several enviro groups, they cry foul. But when environmental interests collaborate with absolutely non one to push through the top-down Roadless Rule, skirting the very public process (I hope) we all hold dear, it’s A-okay.

When the USFS is hesitant to collaborate they pitch a fit. But when the Forest Service Council raises issues about steamrolling the local communities, ignoring the people they live with, and threats of retirement to employees for raising concerns, too many enviros are saying “Ha ha! Too bad!”

When Utah BLM behaved badly by threatening and silencing agency archeologists about the Nine Mile Canyon rock art, enviros rightly sounded the alarm. But where is this same support for agency employees, this call for openness, when they want to talk about the Roadless Rule?

When Utah BLM accelerated the process of issuing Records of Decisions for several Resource Management Plans in eastern Utah, enviros rightfully complained. But when the massive Roadless Rule EIS only provided the public with 69 days to comment, not a complaint was heard.

Too many enviros talk a mean game about “process.” By reading these comments it’s pretty apparent some could care less about process, only the results. That’s fine, but at least be consistent; no more criticizing Bush, or the next Repug for doing the exact same thing.

Thanks and props to those enviros with the integrity to support an open process, regardless of the issues or their positions.

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  5. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
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