Tonight I get to combine a few of my favorite things: PBS, Pete Seeger, and the Roadless Rule. PBS is broadcasting Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration as I write. Mr. Seeger, an American icon, is known for many things, among them his dedication to cleaning up the Hudson River so that everyone can enjoy it, and his classic rendering of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land."
Which brings me to the Roadless Rule. Yesterday the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed and reinstated the 2001 Roadless Rule, the most popular environmental rule of all time. This marks a virtual end to the Bush administration's attacks on the Rule. The 2001 Rule has, the court emphasized, "immeasurable benefits from a conservationist standpoint."
For those of you following the debate about the Roadless Rule in Colorado, the State of Colorado and the Forest Service have proposed a state-specific management regime for national forests in Colorado that would remove the protections of the Roadless Rule in the state. The Colorado proposal would allow coal mining in a fragile watershed, more oil and gas drilling in some of our most valuable wildlife habitat, and logging in the wild backcountry--diverting scarce resources away from community wildfire protection and potentially increasing wildfire risk.
Instead of approving this Colorado proposal, we hope the President will take swift action to ensure the Roadless Rule debate is put to rest once and for all. We hope he will put the Colorado pro-industry proposal on ice, end the Bush administration's exemption of the great Tongass rainforest from the 2001 Rule, and direct the Forest Service to appeal the lone remaining legal challenge to the 2001 rule, a Wyoming case. After all, this land is your land; our national forests belong to all Americans, not special corporate interests.