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Walden Statement on Finalization of Finalized Roadless Rule Issued by President Bush

Location: Washington, DC

Walden Statement on Finalization of Finalized Roadless Rule Issued by President Bush
Thursday, May 5, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, today issued the following statement in response to President Bush's announcement of the final rule on roadless areas in national forests:

"I applaud President Bush for his efforts to foster a collaborative relationship with states when it comes to the management of roadless areas within our nation's forests by giving them Cooperating Agency Status. While decision making authority for federal forestlands will still rest with the Secretary of Agriculture, governors will now have the ability to provide local perspective and site-specific recommendations for areas within their state.

"This cooperation ensures that the federal government will have the best possible information when making decisions about specific regions. The previous roadless rule developed by the Clinton Administration precluded this by shutting out talented individuals working in the states and, instead, implementing a one-size-fits-all approach to forestland management.

"In 2000, Governor Kitzhaber wrote a letter to the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) stating, 'Oregon is requesting cooperating agency status.' His request was denied in the original rule despite his point that 'there are numerous questions about future management of these areas and their values. We should be considering these questions together given our respective management responsibilities as well as our responsibilities to our citizens as governments.' The rule now grants Oregon status requested five years ago.

"As chairman of the Forests and Forest Health Subcommittee, I look forward to working with the administration and local leaders throughout the nation as we move forward with policies and practices benefiting our forests today and for generations to come."

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