IDENTIFIES NATIONAL FORESTS AT GREATEST RISK FROM BUSH ADMINISTRATION
National Forest Named Among America's Special Mention Endangered
In March, a nationwide coalition of environmental
groups released a new report identifying the national forests
at greatest risk from logging and documents the Bush Administration's
attempts to eliminate public oversight of environmental laws.
Greenpeace and the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA)
released Endangered Forests, Endangered Freedoms in response
to the Administration's unprecedented attacks on America's
national forests. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Dr. E.O.
Wilson of Harvard University joined the groups at the March
press conference launching the report to call for an end to
logging in these national treasures.
"Scientists have reached a deeper understanding
of the value of the National Forest System that needs to be
kept front and center," said Dr. Wilson. "They represent
a public trust too valuable to be managed as tree farms for
the production of pulp, paper and lumber. The time has come
to free national forests from political partisanship, and
to use their treasures to benefit all Americans."
Forests were selected based on several criteria,
including water quality, road construction, the presence of
endangered species, timber sale volume and economics, and
the percentage of remaining old-growth and roadless areas.
Chosen as the 10 most endangered forests were Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forest (Ariz./N.M.), Bitterroot National Forest (Mont.),
Black Hills National Forest (S.D.), Chequemegan-Nicolet National
Forest (Wis.), George Washington-Jefferson National Forest
(Va.), Kootenai National Forest (Mont.), Mississippi’s National
Forests (Miss.), Plumas National Forest (Calif.), Tongass
National Forest (Alaska), and Umpqua National Forest (Ore.)
Special mention went to the Allegheny National Forest (Pa.),
the Medford Bureau of Land Management District (Ore.) and
Sequoia National Forest (Calif.).
The Allegheny National Forest was cited largely
due to the overwhelming amount of oil and gas drilling - the
Allegheny has more oil and gas wells than all the other national
forests combined. The report also draws attention to the 8,600-acre
East Side Timber Sale, stating, "A federal judge's recent
reversal of an earlier decision on the East Side sale promises
to return the ANF to its status as the country's most endangered
national forest." The Allegheny was cited as America’s
Most Endangered National Forest in 2001.
"Endangered Forests, Endangered Freedoms
provides the American public with a detailed and scientific
account of the current ecological state of the National Forest
system," said Jake Kreilick, Project Coordinator of NFPA.
"By citing direct evidence of environmental damage in
10 particularly endangered forests, it paints a grim picture
of the Bush Administration's mismanagement of our precious
The report lists specific actions taken by
the Bush Administration to achieve its pro-logging agenda,
- limiting the public’s right to participate
in decisions affecting their public lands;
- using stealthy administrative rule changes
to undermine fundamental environmental laws (e.g. the National
Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management
- using the threat of wildfires to give timbers
companies access to remote intact forests for logging;
- dismantling rules that protect forests
from roadbuilding and commercial development; and
- turning over large tracts of National Forest
land to logging companies under the guise of "Stewardship
"This fight is not just about saving
trees," said John Passacantando, Director of Greenpeace.
"We are fighting for the principle that some places in
this country are so special that they belong to all Americans.
And we are fighting for the right of the people to have a
say in the future of those places." Nine forests were
listed as "threatened:" Cherokee National Forest
(Tenn.), Clearwater National Forest (Idaho), Idaho Panhandle
National Forest (Idaho), Kaibab National Forest (Ariz.), Mount
Hood National Forest (Ore.), Monongahela National Forest (W.Va),
Ottawa National Forest (Mich.), Ouachita National Forest (Ark./Okla.)
and Sumter National Forest (S.C.).