Nevada´s two U.S. House representatives are split on pending legislation to ban road building in some wilderness areas in national forests.
Democrat Shelley Berkley of Las Vegas signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill introduced last week. But Republican Jim Gibbons of Reno wants to either change the bill or scrap it altogether. The ban was signed by President Clinton in the last days of his presidency but never implemented by the Bush administration.
Berkley says the bill would protect “America´s last pristine and untouched lands.” But Gibbons says the roadless policy could harm rural economies dependent on resources in and around the wilderness areas. Gibbons was one of 45 legislators who signed a letter sent to President Bush last week stating their opposition.
The letter encourages Bush to seek alternatives. Last year, a federal judge in Idaho blocked implementation of the Clinton rule, calling it “fundamentally flawed.” Environmental groups are challenging that ruling.