New rule underscores Administration’s commitment to the West

July 12, 2004
12:00 AM
Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici today congratulated the Forest Service on plans to issue a new roadless rule this week that allows governors to recommend which roadless areas in their states should continue to be maintained as such. Domenici statement: “More than 90 percent of the roadless areas in this country are in the West. This Administration has taken yet another important step to give western citizens a greater voice in the management of western resources. This president understands the West. He understands the vital role western governors can play in effective federal land management. “For too long, beltway bureaucrats were the ones who decided how federal resources in the West were managed. They made critical decisions on water, forest, rangeland and wilderness without any real input from governors or western citizens. “Look at the some parts of the West, and you’ll see what that beltway arrogance has produced. The West has been plagued by drought, wildfire, insect disease and water squabbles. We wouldn’t have some of these problems if federal land managers had consulted the governors and the citizens who intimately know the land Washington is trying to manage. “I commend the U.S. Forest Service for recognizing that fact. I applaud a roadless rule that will give governors a defined role in recommending which existing roadless areas should be maintained as roadless. Creating a roadless area has a tremendous impact on the land itself and on surrounding region. Prohibiting roads affect’s a forest’s vulnerability to fire, drought and disease. Prohibiting roads affects local prosperity, regional commerce, state resource management, accessibility to nearby state lands and both state and federal efforts to combat disease, drought and wildfire. Now, local residents will have the security of knowing that their local elected officials have a seat at the table when making decisions that affect their very quality of life.’