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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2020 


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'Time Out' Called for West Virginia Roadless Areas

June 1, 2009

Charleston, WV - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has called for a halt to new development in unroaded parts of the country's national forests. The directive affects nearly 200,000 acres in West Virginia, mostly in the Monongahela National Forest. In effect, it's a "time out" for roadless wildlands, stopping new logging and other activities on more than 50 million acres nationwide

The directive, which is temporary, is described as a way to provide more time for the Obama administration to work out a clear policy. Jane Danowitz, public lands director for Pew Environment Group, says the move is good news for those who like their wild places just the way they are now.

"The majority of these national forests that are unroaded are not protected right now. This 'time out' ensures no harm will be done until the Obama administration can put together a long-term, more permanent policy."

In 2001, the Clinton administration put into effect a rule to protect the remaining "roadless" areas in national forests. The Bush administration challenged the rule, and the issue has been in the courts for years, leaving the fate of roadless areas uncertain. New projects still could happen in West Virginia, but they would need special approval from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Danowitz says roadless areas are just a fraction of the national forest inventory, and protecting them provides balance with other forest uses, such as logging, mining and drilling for gas or other energy sources.

"The economic engine in many locations is the landscape, so protecting that landscape provides for substantial and sustainable communities."

West Virginia roadless areas are described online at www.roadlessland.org/map.php?state=WV.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV