| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2006
Coalition of Wilderness, Wildlife Groups Calls For More Time
TUCSON, Ariz.—The Center for Biological Diversity, Arizona Wilderness Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Washington Wilderness Coalition, Earthjustice, Wilderness Watch, and Western Watersheds Project today asked the Forest Service to extend a public comment period on a controversial new rule that would permit aerial gunning and sodium-cyanide traps inside federally designated wilderness areas.
“This is a tremendously controversial new rule,” said Erik Ryberg, staff attorney for the Center. “And the Forest Service released it practically in secret.” The new rule does not appear on the Forest Service’s Web site, and the groups say their organizations only learned about the rule when it appeared buried on page 32,915 of the Federal Register. The rule has a 60-day public comment period that expires August 7.
“Our members are only just now having a chance to digest how awful this proposal really is for wilderness areas,” said Ryberg. “It’s a complex, far-reaching rule that would transform what wilderness areas even mean to most wilderness users.”
The new rule permits motorized use in wilderness areas for the purpose of wildlife control actions targeting coyotes, bears, wolves, mountain lions and other animals seen as threats to the livestock industry. The rule does not require that animals actually be implicated in livestock depredation before they are killed.
“This new rule is a huge change. It signals a new day in wilderness management, and people need to have time to respond,” said Ryberg.
More information about the new rule, the old rule, and the Center for Biological Diversity’s comments on the proposal can be found at www.predatorcontrol.org.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with more than 25,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and habitat.