State asking for public comments on Forest Service roadless area rules

Post Independent Staffand The Associated Press

DENVER – The U.S. Forest Service is starting work on rules for managing some 4 million acres of undeveloped land in national forests across Colorado, including the White River National Forest.The Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact statement on a plan written by a state task force and submitted by Gov. Bill Ritter.The proposal would keep most of the 4.1 million acres of roadless forest land off-limits to development. Exceptions would be allowed for logging, for measures to prevent fires and fight bark-beetle infestations, and to allow a coal mine in western Colorado to continue operations.Environmentalists, hunting and angling groups want Colorado to withdraw its plan, saying it doesn’t offer as much protection as a Clinton-era rule. That rule that was replaced by the Bush administration and then revived when a federal judge overturned the Bush administration’s rule.Public comments are being sought during a process to determine the scope of the environmental, social and economic issues to be considered in relation to the roadless area rules.Comments are due by Feb. 25 and may be e-mailed to Written comments may be sent to Roadless Area Conservation-Colorado, P.O. Box 162909, Sacramento CA 95816-2909, or faxed to 916-456-6724.Because of the extensive public involvement already undertaken by the state task force, no public meetings are anticipated during the initial comment period.More information about the roadless rule effort is at

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