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04/08/2010

Colorado Inches Toward Opting out of Roadless Rule

Earlier this week, the state of Colorado moved one step closer toward opting out of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule by proposing a new plan to manage Colorado's roadless forest areas.  The plan put forward by the state would allow activity on up to 30,000 acres of inventoried roadless areas, including significantly expanding ski resorts as well as expanding the operations of three coal mines.  This plan sets a bad precedent and undermines the 2001 rule.

Road
Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule, originally signed into law by Bill Clinton in 2001, was attacked repeatedly during the Bush administration, most significantly by exempting the Tongass National Forest from the protections.  Additionally, Bush instituted a temporary policy by which states could opt out of the federal rule and create a state-specific plan.  Both Idaho and Colorado took advantage of this policy before it was reversed.  Idaho's plan has already been finalized and several organizations, including the Sierra Club, have filed suit.

This proposal now moves to the Obama administration which has promised to uphold and defend the 2001 rule.  We strongly urge them to oppose any project, this Colorado petition included, which undermines the integrity of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

Read our press release here.

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