Gag Me With a Rule
There was good news and bad news for U.S. forests yesterday. In the former department, the Bush administration announced that it would not renew a temporary rule that permitted some road-building in national forests. That decision effectively restores the “roadless rule,” a Clinton-era policy prohibiting development on almost one-third of the nation’s forests, or 58 million acres of public land. In worse news, as of yesterday, environmental impact studies will no longer be required for many projects to log or burn trees in the name of preventing forest fires. The new rules, championed by the Bush administration, also limit the appeals process for such projects. Environmentalists say the rules, which are part of President Bush’s “Healthy Forests” initiative, are simply a way to increase logging and gag public opinion.