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JUNEAU, Alaska, January 25, 2008 (ENS) - Today, the Bush administration put a "for sale" sign on trees in pristine roadless areas of the Tongass rainforest in Alaska - America's largest national forest.
This move by Bush officials to reverse roadless area protections parallels two others made recently in national forests located in Idaho and Colorado.
Conservationists from across the country are indignant that roads will be punched through some of the nation's last, best roadless areas to allow private corporations to log America's public lands.
"The few remaining roadless areas of our national forests are some of the only safe harbors for America's wildlife," said Mary Beth Beetham at Defenders of Wildlife. "As global warming threatens to dramatically change the landscape we must have the foresight to preserve these last remaining pristine forests for future generations. It's folly for the Bush administration, in its last few months, to work to destroy these areas."
In December 2003, Bush officials "temporarily" exempted Alaska's Tongass rainforest from the Clinton era Roadless Rule, designed to protect 58 million acres of roadless wild forests in 39 states.
The Bush administration's new management plan for the Tongass National Forest will raise no revenue for the U.S. government, as the U.S. taxpayers will have to pay to build the roads the timber companies need to access the forest.