Act now to save the Roadless Rule |

Act now to save the Roadless Rule

Dear Editor:The Roadless Area Conservation Rule protects 58.5 million acres of wild National Forest land from most commercial logging, oil and gas development and road-building – 4.4 million of those roadless acres are in Colorado. Roadless areas are ecologically and economically critical to Colorado and the nation.The current Forest Service road system is 386,000 miles, enough to circle Earth 15 times. Yet, only 20 percent of these roads are properly maintained, amounting to a $8.4 billion road maintenance backlog. National Forests in Colorado have enough roads to go from the Kansas border to Utah and back 17 times. There are more than 2,500 road miles on the WRNF alone. Access ain’t a problem.The Bush administration proposes to change the Roadless Rule, replacing it with a costly and complex process whereby state governors petition the secretary of agriculture, former timber industry lobbyist Mark Rey, to protect particular roadless areas. The administration’s proposal gives total discretion to Sect. Rey to comply with roadless area protection requests … or to give them away to the extractive industries. Which do you think he’s gonna choose?Orwellian rhetoric aside, this proposed change will not protect roadless areas and will accelerate their demise. The Forest Service is accepting public comments on these proposed changes until Nov. 15. Please join the 30,000 Coloradans who have voiced their support for the original Roadless Rule. Submit your comment today and protect our last wild and unprotected lands. For more information, visit: comments to: Content Analysis Team, ATTN: Roadless State, Petitions, FAX: (801) 517-1014, EMAIL:statepetitionroadless@fs.fed.usLest ye forget, the recent gas drilling leases in the Thompson Creek Roadless would not have happened if the Roadless Rule was allowed to stand. This is not an abstract issue; it affects our back yard and our quality of life.Sloan ShoemakerWilderness Workshop

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