|Clinton Halts Road Work in US Forests|
President Clinton announced on Friday the final issuance of rules closing almost 60 million acres of land in U.S. forests to road construction and repair and commercial timber cutting in an action hotly opposed by governors of energy-strapped western states.
Forest Service Final Rule -- "
In this Executive Memorandum of Oct. 13, 1999, President Clinton first ordered the Forest Service to "develop, and propose for public comment, regulations to provide appropriate long-term protection for most or all of these currently inventoried 'roadless' areas, and to determine whether such protection is warranted for any smaller 'roadless' areas not yet inventoried." The result being the Final Rule announced on Friday.
Though cheered by environmentalists, governors of western states now faced with soaring electricity costs, shortages and blackouts due to shrinking supplies of natural gas and fuel oil, have vowed to get Forest Service rule overturned.
U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), stated that the land involved by the ban could hold up to 23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas -- enough to supply the entire U.S. for a year.
Murkowski heads the Senate Energy committee, and has long suggest that more federal lands, rather than less, be opened to petroleum exploration in order to lessen America's dependence on high-priced imported oil. The U.S. now imports over half of all petroleum used nationwide.
Many resident groups in and around national forests who depend on forest roads for access to work, schools, hospitals, shopping and other vital community services also hotly oppose the no-roads order. Some forest road user groups have even vowed to defy the federal order and maintain the roads themselves.
The rule bans new construction and repair of roads and timber cutting in undeveloped areas, except as necessary to reduce wildfire risks. According to the Forest Service, 380,000 miles of roads already exist in the national forests, with many roads badly in need of repair.
states affected by the rule include: (Click for maps)
The Final Rule is -- 36
CFR Part 294 -- "Special Areas; Roadless Area Conservation" Maps of forest areas in all states affected by the rule , along with much
more information on the process leading up to the rule can be found on the
Forest Service's Roadless Area
Conservation Web site.
The Final Rule is -- 36 CFR Part 294 -- "Special Areas; Roadless Area Conservation"
Maps of forest areas in all states affected by the rule , along with much more information on the process leading up to the rule can be found on the Forest Service's Roadless Area Conservation Web site.