52 Businesses Unite Around the Roadless Rule

Solomon Basin Roadless Area, Fishlake National Forest, Utah. Photo: Tim Peterson

Fifty-two Conservation Alliance member companies from across the United States and Canada joined us in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, urging him to uphold the National Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Roadless Rule). The letter was sent to the Secretary and his team at the United States Department of Agriculture as attempts to dismantle the Roadless Rule heat up.
In 2001, after a positive and enthusiastic public process made up of 600 public hearings and 1.6 million public comments, the United States Forest Service (USFS) adopted the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. With the rule’s creation, 58.5 million acres of Roadless areas in many National Forests were protected from unnecessary road building, commercial logging, and coal, gas, oil and other mineral leasing.
In late February of this year, the state of Utah, under leadership from Governor Gary Herbert, submitted its petition to the USFS requesting to revoke and rewrite the 2001 Roadless Rule to be special to Utah and to favor extractive industry and road building over recreation and wildlife habitat. Within the petition’s meager four pages was a request to loosen protections from logging in 79 perfect of Utah’s four million acres of Roadless lands, release nine percent from all protections, and offer additional protections to no areas. Thus far, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as not responded to Utah’s petition. We remain hopeful he holds strong and rejects the petition.
Alaska’s rule re-writing is already underway. In summer of 2018, Alaska filed a similar petition and the Trump Administration began its attempt to revoke and replace the Roadless Rule, which protects 9.5 million acres of the Tongass National Forest. We expect to see the USFS’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement mid-summer. The published draft will kick off a 60-day public comment period, where we will encourage our community to submit formal comments highlighting the importance of retaining protections for the Tongass National Forest for its recreation values, its incredible habitat, and its unmatched old growth stands.
Click here to visit a recent Conservation Alliance Roadless Rule post to learn more.
Just can’t get enough? Write a note to your elected officials, urging them to pass legislation to uphold the National Roadless Rule.