In his last year in office, President Bill Clinton passed the so-called Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a conservation initiative that protected 58.5 million acres of wild national forest land from commercial logging and road-building. The rule was enacted with widespread public support, generating 1.5 million positive comments from US citizens who praised the effort to protect the last remaining wild forest lands.
On July 12, the Bush Administration reversed its pledge not to dismantle these environmental protections, announcing a wholesale weakening of the rule that puts the fate of our national forests in the hands of state governments.
Since it took office, the Bush White House has been quietly undermining the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. But now the President’s proposal will openly allow timber, oil, and mining interests to build roads in these last protected areas in order to facilitate logging.
As the Center for American Progress showed recently on its website, this Administration decision has sparked editorial outrage nationwide, suggesting widespread public opposition to this latest assault on the environment. The lead from the Kansas City Star‘s editorial of July 15 is a representative example: “In another payoff to campaign contributors, the Bush Administration has swept aside federal protections for the nation’s forests. The result will be chopped-up forests in many parts of the country, particularly in the West where most untouched forests remain.”
Or this from the Louisville Courier-Journal of the same day: “From the people who produced Iraq World–a $100 billion mess that has claimed thousands of lives in a war based on false premises and shoddy planning–now comes Timber World.”
The Nation shares this outrage and has joined a coalition of groups–including the Sierra Club and 20/20 Vision–sponsoring a national letter-writing campaign to Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. Write Bosworth today to make it clear to the Bush Administration that Americans oppose the wholesale destruction of America’s last wild forests.