U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) today issued the following statement regarding the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the Colorado Roadless Rule by the Administration. The Colorado specific rule would replace the 2001 National Roadless Rule in managing millions of acres of forest land in Colorado.
"Colorado has some of the most spectacular forests in the nation, if not the world. They are a precious resource that we need to protect not just for ourselves, but for our kids and our grandkids. The final EIS released yesterday is an improvement from the draft released previously but it still leaves our state with lesser protection than others around the nation despite assurance that the rule would be as protective if not more so.
"While I am pleased to see that additional acres have been added to the upper tier category, many more acres qualified and should have been added as well. One significant improvement, which I requested in my July 2011 comment letter on the CO Rule, is that construction zones are prohibited for future leases and utility lines in the upper tier lands.
"As I have said from the beginning, Colorado's national forests deserve the same protections as the forests throughout the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the Colorado specific rule does not offer protections equal to those offered to roadless areas under the national rule. I continue to encourage the U.S. Forest Service to extend the same defense to Colorado's forests."