|Deadline Monday — Tell the Obama Administration: Don’t roll back National Forest protections.
“Weaker than Ronald Reagan’s.”1
That might not be what you would expect to hear about the Obama Administration’s proposed National Forestry Management rules, but that unfortunately is the case.
The proposed rules replace 30-year-old, mandatory forest and wildlife protections with subjective guidelines that make it easier to prioritize logging and other extractive activities over the protection of the fish, wildlife and ecosystems of America’s National Forest System — 175 forests and grasslands comprising an area the size of Texas.
The Department of Agriculture is accepting comments on the new rules until Monday, May 16th. Wildlife and conservation groups are demanding stronger rules, and it’s essential that we help build the call to protect the vast, priceless areas of our National Forests.
For 11 years, the National Forest Service has been trying to weaken the 1982 rules. But proposed revisions by both the Clinton and Bush Administrations were struck down in court.
While the Obama Administration’s revision is a step up from the Bush-era rules, it represents a significant step back from the rules currently in place. Among other rollbacks, the new rules:
Our National Forests provide habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species, and encompass watersheds that account for one-sixth of the public water supply.
It’s essential that a natural resource this valuable be protected by strong, mandatory, consistent and science-based standards. If anything, the Obama administration should be enacting stronger rules than the existing Reagan-era standards. Certainly, we shouldn’t be weakening them.
Thanks for protecting America’s National Forests.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
1. Enviros: Obama’s new forest rules are weaker than Reagan’s,” Ecotrobe, February 11, 2011