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SOURCE: U.S. Newswire, National Desk, September 20, 2006
Court Reinstates Clinton-Era Roadless Forest Protections
DATELINE: WASHINGTON, Sept. 20
Following is a statement of Betsy Loyless, senior vice president, National Audubon Society on roadless forest protections:
"The U.S. District Court Ruling reinstating protections for millions of acres of National Forests amounts to one of the most important conservation victories of the Bush era. The court has made clear that this administration failed to follow environmental safeguards laid out in this country's environmental laws, putting millions of acres of pristine forests at risk of logging and drilling. It's thrilling to see that our precious roadless forests will remain roadless.
"The administration's repeal of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule replaced the most popularly supported federal regulation in U.S. history with the least popular. The substitute policy implemented by the Bush Administration turned a deaf ear to the public, and strengthened the hand of logging, drilling and mining interests in the states these forests call home."
Today, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco sided with four attorneys general and environmental groups - including the National Audubon Society - in reinstating the 2001 Roadless Rule. The 2001 Clinton-era rule protected 58.5 million acres of national forest from roadbuilding, logging and drilling.
The Bush Administration change was announced in May 2005, when it reversed its own pledge to uphold the 2001 rule. Conservation groups, in addition to protesting the administration's decision on legal grounds, also said they ignored the 1.7 million who opposed the Bush rule during a comment 2004 period. The vast majority of those comments favored upholding the Clinton-era protections.
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