We asked members of Congress to preserve roadless areas by supporting the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act and not simply codifying the roadless rules. The Idaho (2008) and National Roadless Rules (2001) are not protecting our roadless areas. Neither of these roadless rules flat-out prohibit logging without exceptions. Friends of the Clearwater has found that, since 2008 in Idaho and Montana, the Forest Service has self-reported it has authorized logging in preliminary amounts of approximately 40,000 – 55,000 acres in roadless areas. We found that the Forest Service has authorized logging by manipulating the purpose of the project so it would fit into an exception to cut trees permitted by the Idaho Roadless Rule (which only governs Idaho) or the 2001 National Roadless Rule (which governs Montana and most states). For example, the 2001 National Roadless Rule allows logging in roadless areas to “maintain or restore ecosystem composition and structure.” Over the past decade, the Forest Service has proposed logging projects in roadless areas while asserting that logging would restore ecosystems.
The environmental costs of roadless logging are profound: logging fragments habitat, denudes soil and water quality, introduces invasive species, is linked to more severe wildfire, and eliminates wild characteristics that can take up to a century to recover. In the last Congress, senators introduced a bill to turn the roadless rules into a statute, which would codify and make permanent the problems that we have observed. Because the Forest Service is manipulating the National Roadless Rule, and the Idaho Roadless Rule outright allows logging where even the National Roadless Rule prohibits this, nether rule is protecting roadless areas from logging. We have asked that Congress not codify the roadless-rule regulations as they are written, and instead support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, which will protect roadless areas in national forests in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, northwest Wyoming, almost all of Montana, and all of Idaho by designating these roadless areas as Wilderness. Such a designation would afford all of these areas protection under the Wilderness Act.
Below are talking points to consider for your Congressmen and Congresswomen.
* Support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Projection Act, which will designate roadless areas as wilderness in national forests in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, northwest Wyoming, almost all of Montana, and all of Idaho. This protects these areas from fragmentation and degraded wild values, allowing biodiversity to thrive, by protecting them under the Wilderness Act.
* Do not codify the Idaho Roadless Rule or the National Roadless Rule as they are written, and do not codify either without eliminating all exceptions for logging.
Also please consider sharing your message with the House Natural Resources Committee.
It’s very important that they hear from you, too. Call 202-225-6065 or via US Mail:
Chairman Raul Grijalva
House Natural Resources Committee
US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Download the educational handout that we provided to various representatives.