Obama Administration Moves to Protect Forests

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jen Mueller (202) 683-1250 or John Rumpler (617) 747-4306

Obama Administration Moves to Protect Forests

WASHINGTON - Today, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
issued an interim directive protecting pristine forests from new
logging and drilling. The directive requires his personal approval for
any new logging, drilling, or roadbuilding in nearly 50 million acres of our most pristine national forests.   The measure does not protect roadless areas in Idaho. 

Environment America Senior Attorney John Rumpler issued the following statement in response:

"Some
of America's last pristine forests and treasured wild places have been
facing a one-on-one matchup with logging, mining and drilling
industries. Today Secretary Vilsack stepped onto the
court and called a time out for our forests. The next step will be to
permanently protect these special places and declare a win for our
forests."

Background

Despite President Obama's support for the landmark Roadless
Rule and overwhelming public support, Environment America's research
revealed that Forest Service officials were still moving toward
approving plans for logging, mining, and roadbuilding in roadless areas of national forests in Colorado, Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon.  Environment America's report, released in April, Quietly Paving Paradise, documents these findings and urges Secretary Vilsack to declare a "time out" on destructive activities in roadless areas.

The secretary's interim directive includes protection for 8.5 million acres of roadless areas in the Tongass
Forest in Alaska - the largest temperate rainforest forest in the
world, which features cool, clear streams for spawning salmon and trout
and is home to 300 species of birds.   The Bush administration had stripped the Tongass National Forest of Roadless Rule protection in 2005 and several timber projects have been nearing approval at the Forest Service. 

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Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. Our professional staff in 27 states and Washington, D.C., combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for the environment. Environment America draws on 30 years of success in tackling environmental problems.

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