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Democrats Ask Bush To Retain Roadless Rule

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Democrats and environmentalists are calling on the Bush administration to withdraw a plan to allow road building and logging on 58 million acres of remote forests. Both now are prohibited.

At a rally yesterday in front of the White House, speakers called the plan a giveaway to the timber industry. Speakers also said it is one that could devastate some of the most pristine woodlands in the country. But the administration said in July it is reversing a 2001 rule imposed by President Clinton: it prohibited road construction on nearly one-third of federal forests.

Environmentalists call the so-called “roadless rule” an important protection. But the timber industry and some G-O-P lawmakers criticize it as dangerous. They say it has left millions of acres exposed to catastrophic fire.