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Congress Considers Turning Wyoming Roadless Areas into Wilderness

October 18, 2007

Lander, WY – The federal government has the opportunity to "go wild" over preserving Wyoming's roadless areas. Today, the U.S. House will consider the "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act." If it becomes law, it would declare five million acres of roadless land in Wyoming as "wilderness," while adding jobs in the state.

The Act, which has been almost 20 years in the making, would prohibit logging on roadless land. Mike Garrity with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies explains the federal government currently takes a financial loss on every logging project. The money saved by not logging could be used to generate new jobs replanting and recovering soils in old clear cuts, and reclaiming nearly 6,000 miles of unused, closed logging roads.

"The roadless rule isn't strong enough, because any President can change it. It is critical Congress step up to the plate to help define how our public lands are managed."

Opponents worry that Congressional representatives from other parts of the country would be dictating what happens to the federal land in Wyoming's backyard, but Garrity argues the Act would save taxpayers' money and create jobs at the same time.

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - WY