24, 1999 12:00 Noon
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Allen Mattison, 202-675-7903
Representatives Tell Clinton To 'Act Boldly' To Save America's National Forests
- June 24 - A bipartisan coalition of 166 Representatives is urging President
Clinton to protect wild areas of America's National Forests from development,
roadbuilding, mining and logging. Sierra Club applauded the Representatives for
asking Clinton to protect every roadless area in all National Forests.
"America stands at diverging paths, and President Clinton has the opportunity
to choose which road our nation travels. Rather than continuing to pay lumber
companies to clearcut our National Forests, President Clinton can lead us on a
path to protect the remaining uncut forests for our children and grandchildren
to enjoy," said Sean Cosgrove, Sierra Club's forest policy specialist. "These
166 Representatives have earned our praise by working to protect roadless areas
in our National Forests. We thank these Representatives today; our children will
thank them tomorrow."
Representatives Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Steve Horn (R-CA), Jay Inslee (D-WA) and
Michael Forbes (R-NY) led the effort to build support for the letter. In their
letter, the 166 Representatives paint the issue in historic terms, asking the
President to act before it becomes too late to save the forests: "As the millennium
dawns, safeguarding these remaining scenic wild areas will provide a lasting legacy
akin to the bold actions taken by President Theodore Roosevelt when he set aside
our first forest reserves at the beginning of this century. We urge you to act
boldly in that tradition so that these national treasures are not lost."
America's National Forests are scarred by a system of logging roads eight times
longer than our nation's interstate highway system. These roads, built at taxpayers'
expense, ruin wildlife habitat and dump silt into streams. Roadless areas, on
the other hand, while becoming increasingly scarce, are crucial for providing
backcountry recreation opportunities, high quality habitat for fish and wildlife,
and magnificent scenery. Roadless areas also produce some of our clearest, cleanest
rivers and streams, which provide clean drinking water for communities and high
quality habitat for sensitive fish species.
"Sierra Club volunteers have been working with other citizens for more than 100
years to protect our forest heritage for future generations. We have reached a
pivotal point in this long history of protecting forests," Cosgrove said. "There
is no doubt that our last wild forests are most valuable to our nation as quiet
retreats, playgrounds and campgrounds for America's families, water purifiers
for our communities, and habitat for the nation's wildlife. Scientists tell us
this, religious groups tell us this, public opinion polls tell us this, and now
166 Representatives tell us this. President Clinton and Vice President Gore must
seize this last historic opportunity to stop cutting down and paving over our
Earlier this month, the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations delivered
235,000 postcards to Vice President Gore and Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck
calling for permanent protection of all roadless areas over 1,000 acres.
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