Goodlatte Critical of Forest Service Denying Citizens Right to Appeal

Nov 13, 2000

Goodlatte Critical of Forest Service Denying Citizens Right to Appeal
Administration Roadless Policy Goes Forward Without Public Comment

Representative Bob Goodlatte responded today to a final environmental impact statement (EIS) released by the Forest Service on the president's proposed policy for managing roadless areas in the national forest system.

The preferred alternative of the final EIS would prohibit road construction or reconstruction on 60 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in the national forest system — approximately one-third of the lands managed by the agency.  According to the Forest Service, the public will not have further opportunity to comment on the EIS or the final rule, and citizens will not be able to appeal the final rule.

Goodlatte criticized the agency for curtailing public process and for frustrating efforts to reduce wildfire risks on national forests.

"First the administration shut the states out of this process.  Now it is denying all citizens their right to appeal.  This arrogant disregard of fair process is just plain wrong, and it is driving a deep wedge between Washington and local communities."

"This decision also pours salt on the wounds left by one of the worst wildfire seasons in our nation's history.  At a time when the Forest Service is asking Congress for unprecedented budget increases to address this year's disasters and prevent them from happening again in the future, Washington officials are aggressively eliminating the access needed to get the job done.  They can't have it both ways."