Change Watch: First timber sale in roadless area under Obama

Environmental activists hoped that Dept. of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack would impose a temporary moratorium on timber road-building in roadless areas. Instead, Tongass National Forest: prognosis?as Kate Golden reports in the Juneau Empire, the former Iowa governor is hawking timber in the Orion North roadless area of the Tongass, not surprising for a longtime promoter of industrial agriculture.  Barack Obama supported the roadless rule in his campaign, but Vilsack appears to have decided that "protected" wildernesses don't actually need protection and "roadless" doesn't mean without roads.

The U.S. Forest Service agreed Monday to sell timber to a Ketchikan mill in a roadless area of the Tongass National Forest after the Obama administration's approved the sale.

Orion North timber sale is the first such awarded since Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in May he would personally review all timber sales in roadless areas of national forests in the next year.

He's doing that while the Obama administration takes some time to review the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which banned road-building on about 58 million acres of national forest land nationwide but has been challenged since it was issued.

The rest of the story: Juneau Empire.

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UPDATE: Obama asks court to block forest road building
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says it will defend a 2001 rule imposed by President Bill Clinton that blocked road construction and other development on tens of millions of acres of remote national forests.
The rest of the story: Obama asks court to block forest road building (The Spokesman-Review/AP 2009-08-13)

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