Jane Danowitz, director of the Pew Environment Group's U.S. public lands program, today issued the following statement on the Obama administration's announcement of a “time out” on new activity in undeveloped national forests protected by the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, including Alaska's Tongass National Forest. Currently, the policy's legal status is uncertain due to legal challenges and efforts by the Bush administration to replace it with a discretionary state petition process.
“Today's action by the Obama administration recognizes the science on which the landmark roadless rule is based, the public who supported it in record numbers and future generations who will benefit from its protections.
"In the Senate and on the campaign trail, the President supported the roadless rule, one of the most significant land conservation measures in decades. We are pleased he will take this critical step to honor his pledge to protect America's national forests and hope he will move quickly to fulfill it by taking swift action to reinstate the roadless rule."