Bush Administration Delays Roadless Ruling

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it will delay a final decision on whether to repeal the enormously popular Clinton-era Roadless Rule in order to gather more public input — two more months of public input, as it happens. Some enviros (oh, the cynicism!) noted that the delay would put the final decision off until after the election, and further pointed out that much of the pristine land that could be logged, mined, or otherwise developed if the rule is repealed is in Western swing states. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey put such crass political speculation to rest, saying the delay is “unrelated to the elections.” In fact, said Chris West of the American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry group, the delay “shows how transparent this administration is in truly wanting thoughtful and substantive comments.” The original Clinton plan received a record 2.5 million public comments, about 95 percent of which were in favor of it, but hey, you can never have too many comments!