U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding a plan by the United States Forest Service to severely restrict off-highway vehicle access in major portions of the Ouachita National Forest.
"These new restrictions will have a devastating impact on the economy in Southeast Oklahoma. I'm outraged by Forest Service's "Washington knows best' attitude and total disregard for the Oklahomans whose livelihoods depend on tourism in the Ouachita National Forest area," Dr. Coburn said.
"The Forest Service's approach to this issue has been a case study in bureaucratic incompetence and arrogance. This plan will not only hurt the economy of Southeast Oklahoma but will also hurt the very forest they are trying to protect. Mass road closures will result in greater concentration of off-highway vehicles in limited areas, resulting in greater damage to the forest. Local officials in Oklahoma are more than capable of handling this issue on their own without the intrusion of bureaucrats in Washington. I'm disappointed the Forest Service rejected the efforts of local residents and leaders who attempted to address Forest Service concerns without harming the local economy," Dr. Coburn said.