The Bush administration, shelving a Clinton-era decision that put 58.5 million acres of national forests off-limits to development, announced a new rule Monday that will allow the nation's governors to help decide whether roadless areas in their own states should be opened to logging or other commercial activity.This decision ensured that at least parts of remaining primal forests would be protected from development. Without roads, there can be no logging or development. BushCo., who never met an environmental rule that they couldn't hate, of course, had to remove this one impediment to industry. And in a final bit of irony and - for the trees - ignominy - if governors want to protect the forests, they have to ask. Ask whom?
Under the new rule, governors who want to protect pristine areas will have to petition the Forest Service to keep them off-limits to development. The Forest Service will make the final decision about what areas would remain roadless.That's the same Forest Service who decided to drop the old protection rules. I wonder who they'll side with?
UPDATE: Edited for clarity and added the last bit of snark.