Obama administration supports a timeout on road building in national forests
By Jim Tankersley
Reporting from Washington -- The U.S. Forest Service will announce a "timeout" on new road-building and other development in designated roadless areas of national forests today, sources say, prolonging a seesaw battle over a policy first announced in the waning days of the Clinton administration.
The Bush administration let the rule stand but effectively undercut it by exempting large swaths of land from its protections, including parts of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and by allowing states to petition to set their own rules for development in those areas.
Obama's proposed "timeout" is "needed and welcome," said Trip Van Noppen, president of the environmental group Earthjustice. "Roadless areas are important as the last remaining pristine areas in America, and they are a great bulwark in how we will protect our environment in an era of climate change.
Copyright 2009 Los Angeles Times
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