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Idaho's Roadless WILDLIFE HABITAT Needs Your Support

The Bush Administration is employing a new back-door plan to subvert the present policy of protecting Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas towards a policy of extracting the timber and minerals from these critical areas.
Idaho's Roadless WILDLIFE HABITAT Needs Your Support

 http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/462

The Bush Administration is employing a new back-door plan to subvert the present policy of protecting Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas towards a policy of extracting the timber and minerals from these critical areas.

The state has petitioned (PETITION OF GOVERNOR JAMES E. RISCH FOR ROADLESS AREA MANAGEMENT IN IDAHO, OCTOBER 5, 2006) the federal government through a law previously not used in the fight to log and mine our precious Roadless Wildlife Habitat (5 U.S.C. 553 of the Administrative Procedures Act, 1.28 of title 7). The use of this Administrative Procedures Act, if successful, will set dangerous precedents for the rest of the nation's Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas.

This petition has allowed the U.S. Forest Service to initiate an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), called the Roadless Area Conservation Draft EIS, which will, inevitably, lead to a decision to log and mine the majority of the remaining Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas in Idaho.

Order a free copy of the Roadless Area Conservation Draft EIS, specify that they send you a full set of the documents, and request it either in print or cd disk.  rschneider@fs.fed.us

The Roadless Area Conservation Draft EIS divides the remaining Roadless Wildlife Habitat into four new categories or "Management Themes"; (1) Wild Land Recreation, (2) Primitive, (3) Back Country /Restoration, and (4) General Forest, Rangeland, and Grassland.

Not surprisingly, the Administration's plan would impact over two/thirds of the remaining 9.3 million acres of pristine Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas in Idaho, severely reducing its value for wildlife.

The General Forest, Rangeland, and Grassland "Management Theme" would be heavily impacted with roads, logging, and mining. This "Management Theme" will be the most destructive element of this DEIS. Most of the 609,500 acres of this category will be given to the phosphate mining industry from wild-lands in Southern Idaho. One of the nicest descriptions of this trade off is, World-class Premier Wildlife Habitat exchanged for Superfund Cleanup Sites.

The "Management Theme", Back Country Restoration, despite its rhetoric, will allow road construction, logging, and other development on 5.2 million acres. The effects of this "Management Theme" will fall somewhere between Superfund Cleanup site and its present pristine state of undeveloped wildlife habitat.

The Primitive "Management Theme" will open the door to some logging and road building on 1.6 million acres. These areas will, then, will fall short of the Forest Service's recommended wilderness suitability criteria.

The Wild Land Recreation "Management Theme" (for 1.4 million acres) will be altered only slightly. Timber harvest would be permitted in these areas under certain exceptions. These areas will show only little evidence of human use. This category would, somewhat, retain protections similar to the same protection as Roadless Wildlife Habitat enjoys now and similar protection that all Roadless Wildlife Habitat will continue to enjoy in other states.

One of the many impacts of this Roadless Area Conservation Draft EIS will be to open the door to the destruction of our Roadless Wildlife Habitat heritage. The door will be opened to further development within Idaho and will set precedents for other regions to follow. Presently, these areas are protected from destructive development. This Roadless Area Conservation Draft EIS will change those protections. From the existing status of protected wildlife habitat areas, the door will be opened to develop many of these areas.

A better alternative, and one not even considered by this DEIS, is the permanent protection of these important wild life habitat areas. The House of Representatives is presently considering H.R. 2638, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act,. This bill gives permanent protection to all remaining pristine roadless areas larger than 5000 acres within the northern Rockies ecosystem, and provides for the rehabilitation of Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas that have already been impacted by the resource extractive industries.

The Roadless Area Conservation Draft EIS presently is accepting comments on the decision that will be made after the March 21, 2008 closing of the comment period.  IDcomments@fsroadless.org

To make this commenting easier for yourself, you can cut and paste from the text in this site and especially from FOC's scoping comments (see below).

The US Forest Service will be conducting formal hearings during January and February, in locations throughout the state. The hearing in Orofino will be conducted on the 28th of January at the County Court House. The hearing at Lewiston will be conducted on the 29th of January, at 621 21st Street. The hearing in Grangeville will be conducted on the 30th of January at the Super 8 Motel. All meetings will start at 7 pm. You will need to be there early to register to speak. Please stand up and be heard on this important issue.

The time to act is now!

Talking points

* Emphasize Wildlife Habitat- Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas should be protected for fish and wildlife, and for future generations.

* Ask for a public meeting in your area, even if you live out-of-state or if you do not live in Lewiston, Grangeville, or Orofino.

* Ask for a full analysis of the 609,500 acres of the General Forest, Rangeland, and Grassland "Management Theme", which is proposed for open-pit phosphate mining development.

* Emphasize the importance of roadless areas for quality recreation, clean water, and fish and wildlife habitat

* Relate the importance of roadless areas to the economic future of the country

* Idaho's undeveloped roadless areas provide the best fishing and hunting opportunities and generate millions of dollars per year for Idaho's economy.

* Idaho's forests have an estimated $660 million backlog of needed maintenance on over 34,000 miles of existing road. Tell them to take care of the backlog before building new roads.

* Mention personal experiences that you've had in backcountry areas, or issues that you feel are important.

* These Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas belong to the people of the nation. Decisions to destroy them need to be made by the nation, not the state of Idaho.

Please make a comment and tell the EIS team that you do not want our Roadless Wildlife Habitat Areas ruined by this short-sighted plan.

The Forest Service is accepting comments by email at  IDcomments@fsroadless.org

Send hard copy comments to:

Roadless Area Conservation - IDAHO
PO Box 162909
Sacramento, CA 95816-2909

Fax comments to: 916.456.6724

For more information on this important issue, see the links below.

Public comment notice in Federal Register  http://www.fs.fed.us/emc/roadless/noi_fedreg_idaho_roadless_041007.pdf

Forest Service website for the Idaho Roadless Rule  http://www.roadless.fs.fed.us/idaho.shtml

Governor's web site  http://gov.idaho.gov/roadless_petition.html

Heritage Forests website for Idaho Roadless Rule  http://www.ourforests.org/IDPetition/

Read Friends of the Clearwater's scoping comments  http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/472

More Comment Language

Idaho's wild backcountry is a natural treasure for all Americans. Idahoans have a strong
affinity for the rugged, beautiful backcountry and essentially want it unchanged.
Friends of the Clearwater advocates maintaining the status quo, protection. The
proposed rule is a roll back of protections on places Idahoans and Americans hold dear.

Idaho's backcountry is special to Idaho and all America, just as it is. These areas belong to all of us. Idahoans love their backcountry and don't want it to change.

We cannot allow the federal government and developers to open the door to spoiling Idaho's special places. In these times of rapid change, we need to think ahead to guard those quiet, special places where we escape the noise and crowds of everyday life. Let's keep existing protections in place or provide permanent protection to keep Idaho's backcountry areas as they are.

Good words and phrases:
"Keep our backcountry like it is."
"Don't open the door to developers."
"Idahoans and Americans love their backcountry as it is.
Evoke the positive values citizens place on our backcountry:
- Unspoiled
- Pristine
- Peaceful
- Undeveloped
- Natural escapes
Describe benefits for people provided by roadless areas:
- Habitat for fish and wildlife
- Supply clean drinking water
- Traditional places for Idaho's hunters, anglers and hikers

We are working to support the legal status quo not pushing for new rules. This plan is taking existing protection away from our special areas.
Common sense is on our side. There is very little reason to develop these places or
they would have been developed long ago.
Idahoans and Americans love their national forests as they are. Particularly in fast
growing communities like Lewiston and Moscow, and Coeur d'Alene. Idahoans are concerned about the rapid rate of change which is changing the face of Idaho for the worse.

Focus on positive payoffs for people.
This is not about rules. It's about the land. Always bridge back to the land.

These are not Roadless Areas- These are rare pristine natural habitat areas which are accessed by trails, within the National Forests.

These special areas are what make Idaho great.

Don't bog down in detail, conflicts and process. Bridge back to values and the core message:
When discussing areas cut out of protection, bridge back to the land, which is best
presented by spokespeople, like you, who know and value that land as part of their life.
"Folks in Idaho want their special areas protected too. Their hunting, fishing and
outdoor heritage is just as valuable as everywhere else. The federal government should not hand Idaho's special places over to special interests. We can do better."
Phosphate mining. "Idahoans do not want to see their favorite areas handed over to mining companies and turned into Superfund sites. We have seen that much too often in Idaho. Idahoans and Americans do not want to see protections for these special places rolled back."
This plan provides loopholes, especially in the Management Theme, Back Country/ Restoration. "Existing rules already allow flexibility for managing specific problems as they come up; we don't need to open the door to new development by rolling back existing protections for Idaho's backcountry."
We respect the people who live in rural communities and their fear of wildfire: "We all agree that the safety of homes and communities is of paramount importance. But the roadless rule is not about homes and communities; it's about the backcountry. We need to prioritize projects that protect human safety, not open the backcountry to special interests."

Often, who is doing the talking is as important as what is being said. Reach out to
potential new voices whenever possible. Tribal members, hunters and anglers, and scientists, from Idaho help make our position stronger.