20 Aug 2009, 6:55pm
Federal forest policy Politics and politicians
by admin

Roadless Rule Will Harm Forests, Not Protect Them

Note: see also 9th Court Decision on Roadless Rule Is Illegitimate and Destructive [here], and Ninth Circuit ruling to reinstate Roadless Rule leaves wilderness areas vulnerable to fire [here].

Government’s Hands-Off Policy is Directly Responsible for Forest Overcrowding and Wildfires

National Center for Policy Analysis, August 20, 2009, [here]

The Obama administration’s recent decision to support the roadless rule is not only counterproductive, it is ridiculous public policy, according to NCPA Senior Fellow, H. Sterling Burnett.

“The roadless rule is bad as a matter of principle and bad as a policy,” Burnett said. “We don’t need a one-size-fits-all roadless rule. Instead, forests should be managed on an individual or regional basis, allowing roads and attendant logging to take place for economic reasons and to reduce catastrophic wildfires, enhance endangered species protection and improve the forests carbon storage capacity.”

The roadless rule, which was issued by the Clinton administration in 2001, has been a heated topic of discussion in the courts for nearly a decade. On August 5, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the roadless rule across the country.

The Obama administration has endorsed the rule, supporting the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and wants the Tenth to uphold it as well. If the Tenth Circuit also upholds the rule it will be fully reinstated, which would be bad for the health of forests and will continue to cause overcrowding and forest fires, Burnett said.

“Americans and America’s forests deserve better,” he said. “At a time when the government claims to be concerned about fighting global warming by preventing and reducing carbon emissions, clinging to the roadless rule is absurd. Forest fires account for a growing percentage of human CO2 emission each year - topping six percent of U.S. emissions, yet it seems increasingly clear that the government isn’t very concerned about decreasing CO2 emissions. Indeed, environmentalists praise the government for leaving the forests alone, but forest fires are a growing threat.”

“Government’s hands off policy is directly responsible for forest overcrowding, massive pest invasions and even larger wildfires that burn hotter and destroy more acres of forest and surrounding businesses, homes and towns every year,” Burnett said. “Letting nature take its course on our national forests is tantamount to neglect, and the roadless rule is a prime example of that. When the federal government leaves our forests to die, rot and burn, we all suffer but no one is held accountable.”



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