05/29/2009 - Stepping into a major environmental dispute, the Obama administration said Thursday that no new timber-cutting or road project could begin in roadless areas of national forests without the permission of the secretary of agriculture.
The Agriculture Department, which issued a directive outlining the policy, called it an interim measure meant to bring “consistency and clarity” to decisions on a contentious issue that has faced legal challenges since the Clinton administration banned such projects in the roadless areas in 2001.
Environmental activists and others greeted the directive as a rebuke to the Bush administration, which in effect overturned the Clinton rule in 2005.
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Representative Nick J. Rahall II, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, called the directive “proof positive” that the Obama administration will work to overturn the environmental legacy of President George W. Bush. The Pew Environment Group, an arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts, called it “a critical step.”
Read the full article Directive Limits Activity in Roadless Areas of Forests on the New York Times' Web site.