"When the government ignores the will of the people, the people have to stand up," said Laurel Sutherlin. "Such civil disobedience provides a critical check and balance against corruption in a democracy. Actions like those taken today carry on in the rich tradition of defending American democracy inspired by figures like Henry David Thoreau and Rosa Parks."
The original Roadless Rule enjoyed unprecedented public involvement and support. In 2005, the Bush administration replaced the Roadless Rule with a watered-down version that erodes protections for wildlands. The states of Oregon, Washington, Californian and New Mexico are now suing the Bush administration to restore the 2001 Roadless Rule.
After repealing the Roadless Area Conservation Rule in 2005, Bush Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey promised interim protection for roadless areas while governors submitted petitions for protection, but broke that promise when he ordered logging at Mike's Gulch before the Governors' petitioning process was complete. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has scheduled an August 16th hearing on the issue in Medford. A lawsuit filed on behalf of roadless protections by the Governors of New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, the Attorney General of California and numerous conservation groups, is pending in federal court.
Some participants in today's rally pointed out that the Mike's Gulch roadless timber sale sold for a price far below any anticipated in Forest Service planning documents, costing millions of taxpayer dollars.
"Washington, D.C. pretends to listen to the public, but their actions speak louder than words. Bush's Forest Service broke its promise to the American people, while allowing corporate interests increased access to our remote public lands." said Lesley Adams.