Deadline for co-sponsors of Roadless Area Conservation Act this Friday

The drive to sign up co-sponsors for the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2007 has been extended to this Friday, Feb. 23.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) is planning to reintroduce the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act in the 110th Congress, and is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter with bipartisan support to garner co-sponsors for the bill.

The original Roadless Area Conservation Rule was written during the Clinton administration and went into effect in January 2001. It protected 58.5 million roadless acres of national forest from roadbuilding, logging, drilling, mining, and other development.

The Bush administration repealed the original, protective roadless rule on May 2005 and replaced it with a complicated, state-by-state petition process that left the final decision on all roadless areas up to the secretary of agriculture.

In September 2006 a district court judge in San Francisco threw out the Bush repeal and reinstated the original rule.

The Roadless Area Conservation Act would write the provisions of the now-restored roadless rule into federal law. The measure was first introduced in 2003 in the Senate by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and in the House by Inslee. The original legislation garnered 150 co-sponsors.

Though the courts have reinstated it, the original roadless rule is facing more challenges. The administration is expected to appeal the decision. The State of Wyoming has returned to court with its lawsuit against the rule, which set the stage for Bush’s repeal action in 2005.

And even though the Bush administration’s petition process has been struck down by the courts, the Department of Agriculture is still accepting petitions from state governors who want to change the way roadless areas in their states are managed.

A law enacted by Congress (rather than a rule promulgated by a federal agency) would ensure that roadless protections are not subject to the whims of a hostile executive branch. It would provide needed and long-lasting protection for the last unroaded forests in the country.


The letter Inslee is currently circulating can be read at https://www.forestsforever.org/campaigns/Insleecolleagueletter.pdf

The letter has been signed by Inslee and five other representatives: Mark Kirk (R-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Jim Ramstad (R-MN), and George Miller (D-CA). Our goal is to have 150 original co-sponsors before the bill is introduced. So far 50 congresspersons have signed on. The California representatives who have agreed to co-sponsor the bill are:

Howard Berman, D-CA
Sam Farr, D-CA
Michael Honda, D-CA
Tom Lantos, D-CA
Barbara Lee, D-CA
Adam Schiff, D-CA
Brad Sherman, D-CA
Hilda Solis, D-CA
Pete Stark, D-CA
Ellen Tauscher, D-CA
Lynn Woolsey, D-CA

If your congressional representative is not on this list, please call them through the Congressional Switchboard, 202/224-3121, and ask them to become an original co-sponsor of the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2007 today.

Find your representative at: http://www.house.gov/MemStateSearch.html

The deadline for signing on as a cosponsor of the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2007 is now Fri., Feb. 23.

Read Inslee's National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2005 here:



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

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places