For Immediate Release:
Contact: Kristina Johnson, 415-977-5619
Washington, DC: The Sierra Club issues the following statement in support of today's expected announcement by Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issuing a directive requiring Secretarial level approval of any U.S. Forest Service projects that might be inconsistent with the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
Statement of Athan Manuel, Director of Sierra Club Public Lands Protection Program
We applaud Secretary Vilsack and the Obama administration for this announcement. Secretary Vilsack's directive is a critical interim measure to ensure that we safeguard the diverse values of our national forests as the Obama administration considers more permanent protections.
Today's announcement marks a good first step towards maintaining the pledge President Obama made as a candidate to protect our country's roadless areas.
In additional to providing opportunities for quality recreation for millions of hikers, hunters and anglers, the wild areas protected by the Roadless Rule offer vital habitat for thousands of wildlife species. They also safeguard drinking water supplies for millions of Americans.
The Roadless Area Conservation Rule was established by the Clinton administration in 2001 after the most extensive public involvement process in the history of federal rulemaking. However, over the following eight years, the status of the Roadless Rule has remained in doubt as the Bush administration repeatedly attempted to weaken the rule before ultimately acting to replace it with a state petition process that opened the door to development in many of our nation’s most cherished wild lands.