While holiday celebrations were under way nationwide, the Bush administration kept up its single-minded assault on the nation’s national forests. On a state-by-state basis, the Clinton era protections to roadless areas have fallen to the interests of corporations and off roaders. The current thrust of the administration’s efforts are federal lands located in the state of Colorado, comprising no small amount of real estate.
DENVER, Colorado, December 31, 2007 (ENS) – The Bush administration intends to remove existing legal protections from over 4.4 million acres of roadless areas in the national forests of Colorado. The U.S. Forest Service formally announced Wednesday that it is beginning a process to establish a new rule for managing Colorado’s roadless areas. …
The state-by-state roadless rulemaking process is a Bush administration replacement for the Clinton era Roadless Rule, that would have protected 58 million acres of inventoried roadless areas across the United States from development. …
The Colorado announcement follows last week’s similar announcement that the Forest Service will begin consideration of a plan to open millions of roadless acres in Idaho to logging, mining and road building.
A similar plan is expected to be announced for Alaska shortly.
“The Bush administration’s actions in Colorado will turn over some of America’s most pristine wildlands to industry exploitation,” said Amy Mall, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is part of the administration’s latest strategy to erode, state by state, the protections that safeguard our public forests.
“First Idaho, now Colorado, and in a few short weeks the Forest Service plans to release a new management plan allowing roadless area logging in Alaska’s Tongass rainforest, our largest national forest. The pattern is clear – the Bush administration is trying to leave our most pristine forestlands open to corporate special interests – and it is doing it through death by a thousand cuts.”
Apparently the administration takes no time for mere holiday festivities when there are corporate interests to satisfy.
Public comments can be made at COcomments@fsroadless.org until 2/25/08.