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Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, a Democrat at one time under consideration for the secretary of the interior post being filled by Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, is joining forces with former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck to push the Obama administration for a national roadless rule.
Colorado’s successful effort to get the Bush administration to stop fast-tracking a proposed roadless rule for the management of 4.4 million acres of the state’s untrammeled backcountry is winning praise from public policy watchdog groups and conservationists. The Colorado Independent disclosed last week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture hoped to publish the controversial Colorado roadless rule in the Federal Register by Jan. 16, four days before the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
Efforts to close perceived loopholes in Colorado’s controversial roadless rule, which outlines management plans for 4.4 million acres of largely unspoiled public lands throughout the state, will come to a head Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington as a key federal advisory group meets on the issue.
A pack of peeved paddlers — as well as hunters, hikers, environmentalists and business leaders — will descend on the steps of the state Capitol in Denver tomorrow to deliver a “boatload” of comments opposing a Bush administration roadless rule for managing Colorado’s public lands.
Nearly two-thirds of all Coloradans would prefer to protect pristine national forest land rather than increase oil and gas production in those areas, according to a new poll conducted for the Pew Environment Group.
A new set of state rules for managing millions of acres of roadless public lands in Colorado — rules critics say are loaded with loopholes for oil and gas drilling, logging and ski-area expansion — are now out of the public arena and expected to be finalized sometime next year.
The battle over management of Colorado's 4.4 million acres has abruptly intensified, after years of federal intervention, state resistance and legal wrangling dating back to the final days of the Clinton administration. At stake, according to a coalition of environmental groups fighting to protect roadless areas, is whether wide swaths of relatively unscathed national forest will be made more accessible to motorized vehicles, allowing incursion by logging companies, oil and gas drilling, construction of water pipelines and power transmission lines, and expansion by the state's ski industry.