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Know the West

Roadless Rule provided clear direction

  Your article "Clinton-era roadless rule is back ... for now" overlooks some key facts about recent developments and threats still facing roadless areas in our national forests.

While noting that a Wyoming court enjoined the Roadless Rule, the article failed to mention that a higher court — the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — strongly upheld the Rule’s legality. And the article’s conclusion that Judge Laporte’s decision "has done more to confuse the issue of forest management than anything else" suggests some confusion on the author’s part. The Roadless Rule that Laporte reinstated provides much clearer management direction for roadless areas than the chaotic state-by-state and forest-by-forest approach that the current administration was pursuing.

As you mentioned, "(Agriculture) Undersecretary Mark Rey has begun touting the Administrative Procedures Act — which allows any individual to petition for regulatory change — as another option for states to continue forward under the Administration’s unpopular plan." This is especially ironic given that the Forest Service has refused to respond to, or even acknowledge, the 250,000 citizens who filed petitions under that very law this past March seeking to reinstate the Roadless Rule.

Mark Rey’s headlong pursuit of developing our pristine forests conflicts not only with the wishes of millions of Americans, but with the findings of scientists and economists. For once, Rey should listen to the public and start to focus instead on the real management problems facing our national forests.

Mike Anderson
Senior Resource Analyst
The Wilderness Society
Seattle, Washington