May 5, 2005
05:53 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici said the Final Roadless Rule announced by the Forest Service today will empower states and citizens to play a stronger role in managing federal roadless lands as well as protect state and private lands locked inside these roadless areas. The rule invites input from governors in the planned management of inventoried roadless areas in national forests.

Chairman Domenici’s statement:

“The Bush Administration has provided a way to deal with the roadless issue that empowers states. I was deeply disappointed with the Clinton Administration’s attempt to shut out state and local voices in the management of federal roadless land. I have a considerable amount of roadless land in my state. I value the input of New Mexico leaders and citizens in the management of that land. I have advocated for a federal roadless rule that allows New Mexico to properly manage state lands locked within federal forests and allows private New Mexico land owners to manage their lands inside those same forests. In addition to allowing states and citizens to manage state and local lands, this rule recognizes that management of national forests affects local economies and our quality of life.

“I expect that private land owners and state land managers with lands in roadless areas will now be heard. I anticipate federal management plans that incorporate the unique situations in the 38 states affected by this rule. In my own state, I look forward to a federal plan that allows the City of Sante Fe to manage the portion of its own watershed which is in a roadless area.”

More than 48,400 acres of state lands and more than 418,900 acres of private property fall within the boundaries of the existing inventoried roadless areas.  Attempts to deal with these lands was difficult, if not impossible, to address in a national roadless rule. Domenici noted that each time the Forest Service has attempted to apply a one-size-fits-all standard to all roadless lands the courts have struck down the rule. Federal courts have struck down three previous national roadless rules for their failure to address the rule’s impact at the local level.