The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bill Walker, Earthjustice (510) 550-6746
Niel Lawrence, Natural Resources Defense Council (360) 534-9900

Ad Campaign Asks President Obama to Keep Promise to Protect Roadless Forests


Conservation groups working to save America's nearly 60 million acres of roadless national forests launched a national advertising campaign with a target audience of one: President Obama.

View the campaign at

The ads remind the President that as a senator and as a candidate for the White House, he supported the 2001 Roadless Rule, which protects 58.5 million acres of national forests from road building, logging and other industrial activity. During the campaign, in response to a League of Conservation Voters candidate questionnaire, Senator Obama said he would be "proud to support and defend" the rule.

Last month the Obama administration announced that, for the next year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will personally review all proposed development in designated roadless areas. But the review does not guarantee there will be no roads or logging in areas such as Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the crown jewel of the nation's roadless areas, and does not cover Idaho. The Forest Service has approved several timber sales in the Tongass that the Roadless Rule had barred there, and several others are under active consideration.

The first ad will run today in The Washington Post and Politico. It is designed to look like an award plaque presented to the President, reading: "In recognition of your commitment to protect National Forest Roadless Areas we hereby thank you. And now it's time to finish the job." The ad will also run as a full page in the July 20 edition of The New Yorker.

A second ad will run in the Huffington Post, and the online editions of Western regional newspapers, including The Denver Post, Albuquerque Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal. In the style of a retro Works Progress Administration poster, it asks the President to "Please fulfill your promise to protect our roadless national forests," and invites Americans to "Catch a glimpse of the pristine Tongass National Forest . . . before it's too late!"

"The forests protected by the Roadless Rule provide habitat for 1,500 wildlife species, safeguard drinking water supplies for 60 million Americans, and ensure quality recreation for millions of hikers, fishermen, and hunters," said Marty Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice. "The Bush administration and the timber industry did all they could to undermine the rule, and managed to remove protections for magnificent forests in many states. The millions of American's who , like President Obama, supported the 2001 Roadless Rule want the President to make good on his promise by restoring full protection to all the roadless forests."

"There is no better time for President Obama to end the Bush legacy for good. We're asking that he make sure his appointees fulfill his pledge to support and defend the 2001 Roadless Rule," said Niel Lawrence, Forestry Project Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Without the 2001 Roadless Rule protections, pristine old growth could soon be on the chopping block in our largest National Forest, the iconic Tongass rainforest in Alaska."

In addition to Earthjustice and NRDC, the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and Defenders of Wildlife signed the ads.