Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following
statement in response to the Bush Administration's filing of a legal settlement
today that calls for exempting two national forests in Alaska -- the Tongass
and the Chugach -- from regulations developed during the Clinton Administration
to protect roadless areas:
"Once again, the Bush Administration is engaged in doublespeak on the environment. Since President Bush took office, his Administration has given lip service to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, while at the same time seeking ways to undermine it.
"Yesterday, in announcing the settlement of a lawsuit with the State of Alaska, the Bush Administration claimed that it would retain the Roadless Rule. Yet the settlement exempts every inch of the Alaska forests -- 22.5 million acres of ancient forests -- from protection against road-building. To call such an act 'retaining the Roadless Rule' is doublespeak worthy of George Orwells 1984.
"Some 50 logging projects are set to move forward in the Tongass National Forest as soon as new regulations are finalized, possibly this summer. Ancient pristine forests -- home to wolves, bears, salmon, and eagles -- will be lost forever. In addition to writing Alaska out of the Roadless Rule, the Administration will propose new regulations for the rest of the United States to allow governors to propose new roads in roadless forests.
"Americans strongly support protecting wild areas in our national forests
from development, including logging, mining, and drilling for oil and gas. In
response to overwhelming public opinion, the Clinton Administration in January
2001 issued regulations prohibiting road construction in 58.5 million acres
of roadless areas in national forests. While claiming to uphold those regulations,
the Bush Administration is actually gutting them."
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