In the last week of July, U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) re-introduced the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2005 (H.R. 3563), a forest protection bill with 143 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The bill was introduced in response to the recent U.S. Forest Service repeal of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001, which had been signed by President Clinton just before leaving office.

The original Roadless Area Conservation Rule was the most popular environmental rule ever written. The rule and the Forest Service's attempts to rewrite it garnered more than 4.2 million public comments over several comment periods, 97.9 percent of them in favor of the original rule. The roadless rule protected 58.5 million roadless acres of national forest from roadbuilding, logging, drilling, mining, and other development.

The National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2005 would:

o ban logging, oil drilling, roadbuilding, and other forms of development from roadless areas in the national forests;

o help preserve watersheds and provide a clean water supply. More than 2,000 watersheds that contribute to public drinking water are found in roadless areas;

o keep rivers and streams from being damaged by road runoff, logging and other kinds of development, and able to sustain fish populations;

o protect wildlife habitat on which many endangered species depend. More than 1,600 threatened, endangered or sensitive plant and animal species are found in roadless areas;

o write protections afforded by the original Roadless Area Conservation Rule into law, which could not be changed by executive whim.


The first hurdle the bill has to get over is the House Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy). Pombo has a history of opposing environmental legislation, and may try to bottle the bill up in committee.

Write to Rep. Pombo, and urge him to schedule a hearing for the Roadless Area Conservation Act as soon as possible. Congress is in recess for the month of August, so write Pombo at one of his district offices:

Stockton Office
2495 W. March Lane, Suite 104
Stockton, CA 95207

San Ramon Office
3000 Executive Parkway, Suite 216
San Ramon, CA 94583


Dear Mr. Pombo:

I am asking you to schedule a hearing in the House Resources Committee for H.R. 3563, the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2005.

The Roadless Area Conservation Act would help protect our watersheds and ensure a plentiful supply of clean drinking water. Roadless forests protect wildlife, help ensure sound fisheries, and provide recreation for hikers, campers, hunters, and anglers.

This bipartisan bill deserves your support. Please give the bill a fair hearing before your committee.


Your name
Your address

If your representative is a co-sponsor of the bill, please write to them and thank them for their support of this important issue. California representatives co-sponsoring the bill are:

Xavier Beccerra (D-Los Angeles)
Howard Berman (D-North Hollywood)
Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara)
Susan Davis (D-San Diego)
Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton)
Sam Farr (D-Carmel)
Bob Filner (D-San Diego)
Jane Harman (D-Venice)
Mike Honda(D-San Jose)
Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo)
Barbara Lee(D-Oakland)
Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose)
Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento)
Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Carson)
George Miller (D-Martinez)
Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk)
Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles)
Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood)
Loretta Sanchez (D-Anaheim)
Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)
Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks)
Hilda Solis (D-El Monte)
Pete Stark(D-Fremont)
Ellen Tauscher (D-Alamo)
Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles)
Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles)
Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma)

If your representative is not on this list, write to them and ask them to support H.R. 3563, the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2005.

You can find contact information for your representative at http://clerk.house.gov/members/index.html


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places