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Letter to President George W. Bush Regarding Roadless Area Conservation Rule

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Letter to President George W. Bush Regarding Roadless Area Conservation Rule

July 22, 2004

President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We are deeply disturbed by your administration's recent decision to repeal the widely popular Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The proposal that Secretary Veneman announced on July 12th breaks a promise she made on May 4, 2001, when she said, "We're here today to announce the department's decision to uphold the Roadless Area Conservation Rule." Moreover, it goes against the wishes of the 2.5 million public comments the Forest Service has received in support of the rule.

The Roadless Rule is a balanced policy that protects the last third of our national forests from most logging and road construction while allowing new roads in order to fight fires and ensure public safety and allowing brush clearing to protect forest health. The rule ensures that our national forests will continue to provide clean drinking water for millions of Americans, wildlife habitat, endless recreational opportunities, and other important ecological values. The rule is also fiscally responsible as it allows the Forest Service to address the estimated $10 billion backlog in needed road maintenance instead of using taxpayer dollars to subsidize building new roads.

Given the many important values of the Roadless Rule and the wide support it enjoys, we oppose your proposal to replace the rule with a process that requires governors to petition for protections for roadless areas in their states with no guarantee that the protection will be accepted or enforced by the Forest Service. Decisions about land use and land protection within the national forests is supposed to be the job of the federal government, not the job of state governors who are elected by the citizens of the state and often do not have the staff or expertise to make land management decisions. Moreover, your proposal allows governors veto power to eliminate roadless protections in favor of increased logging, mining or other development on federal lands by reverting to local forest management plans should a petition to seek protection not be filed.

We are also concerned that your administration appears to be using lawsuits against the Roadless Rule as an excuse for repealing it. The Department of Agriculture is not required by the pending litigation to act on the rule. Furthermore, if your administration is so concerned about the courts, the Department of Justice should have offered a more vigorous defense of the rule, as Attorney General Ashcroft indicated he would do during his confirmation hearings.

We urge you to withdraw your proposal to repeal the Roadless Rule. Instead, we call on you to keep your promise to uphold the Roadless Rule in the Lower 48 and in Alaska's Chugach National Forest, and reinstate the rule in Alaska's Tongass Rainforest. Future generations of Americans will thank you for preserving our last wild forests.

We appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jay Inslee
Rosa De Lauro
Jim Moran
Sherrod Brown
Carolyn Maloney
Ed Case
Rush Holt
Jose Serrano
Ed Markey
Rob Simmons
Joe Hoeffel
Dale Kildee
Raul Grijalva
Mike Honda
Charles Rangel
Maurice Hinchey
Lloyd Doggett
David Wu
Grace Napolitano
Chris Van Hollen
Richard Neal
George Miller
Barbara Lee
Karen McCarthy
Tammy Baldwin
Sam Farr
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Dennis Moore
Henry Waxman
John Olver
Lane Evans
Susan Davis
Earl Blumenauer
Robert Wexler
Nancy Pelosi
Nick Rahall
Jim Cooper
Lois Capps
Chaka Fattah
Anna Eshoo
Jim McDermott
Frank Pallone
Chris Bell
William Delahunt
Michael Michaud
Eliot Engel
Adam Schiff
Betty McCollum
Brad Sherman
Rick Boucher
Xavier Beccera
Paul Kanjorski
Michael McNulty
Martin Sabo
Gary Ackerman
Robert Matsui
Tim Ryan
Melvin L. Watt
Mark Udall
Bernard Sanders
Ben Cardin
Jerry Kleczka
Howard Berman

Donald Payne
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Peter Deutsch
Linda Sanchez
Marcy Kaptur
John Tierney
Bill Pascrell
Lynn Woolsey
Bobby Etheridge
Dennis Kucinich
John Dingell
Anibal Acevedo-Vila
Steve Rothman
William Lacy Clay
Edolphus Towns
Jan Schakowsky
Patrick Kennedy
Sheila Jackson Lee
Robert Andrews
Luis Gutierrez
Michael Capuano
Loretta Sanchez
John Lewis
Pete Stark
Harold Ford
Sam Farr
Tom Allen
Brad Miller
Ted Strickland
Tim Bishop
Peter De Fazio
Shelley Berkley
Jerry Costello
Barney Frank
Bob Filner
Sandy Levin
Juanita Millender-McDonald
Danny Davis
Baron Hill
Mike Doyle
Robert Menendez
Alcee Hastings
Steve Israel
Ron Kind
Tom Lantos
John Larson
Steven Lynch
Carolyn Kilpatrick
Gene Green
Charles Gonzalez
Rick Larsen
Jim Langevin
Jim Davis
James Clyburn
Tom Udall

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