Final Ruling Protects Wilderness, Rural Jobs

It’s been over 10 years since President Clinton permanently protected over 50 million acres of remaining wilderness in the US national forest by banning logging and new roads, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals finally ruled that the Roadless Area Conservation Rule will remain in force.

Earthjustice, on behalf of many conservation groups, won a lawsuit that ends the decade-long battle waged by the timber industry, Bush administration and the states of Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming.

Besides the inherent value of protecting wild lands and the animals that inhabit them, it also protects vital carbon sinks, clean water supplies, and our economy. Recreation activities on national forests and grasslands sustain an estimated 223,000 green jobs in rural areas and contribute about $14.5 billion a year to the U.S. economy, according to a Forest Service study.

After the most extensive public comment period in our history, the roadless rule was adopted in 2001, barring road construction and logging on 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas, about 30% of the National Forest System. It was immediately challenged by the Bush Administration, which wanted to open those lands for resource extraction.

House Republicans plan to add riders to federal spending bills that would cut critical funding for air, water, conservation and wildlife.

You can write your Representatives here to ask them to reject those riders:

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