11/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Letter Urges Vilsack To Protect Forests

The Heritage Forests Campaign urges environmentalists to sign the following letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. It encourages his him to uphold the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule and to reject the proposal from the State of Colorado to open coal mines and oil wells in the state's national forests.


President Barack Obama has been a strong supporter of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a landmark environmental policy that preserves 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in our national forests. But backed by special interests, the State of Colorado is attempting to get out from under this popular policy and open up some of the best backcountry in the Rocky Mountains to new coal mines, methane wells and oil and gas drilling. As a result, Colorado's national forests could be become a magnet for development and pave the way for pristine lands in other places. National forests - in Colorado and every other state - belong to all Americans. The forestlands that are roadless are particularly vital, providing clean drinking water for millions of Americans, valuable habitat for fish and wildlife and recreational opportunities for our families.

I call on you - as chief steward of these treasured landscapes - to reject the Colorado proposal and carry out President Obama's pledge to uphold the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, as the best national policy to protect the nation's last undeveloped forestlands in every state. Because once they're gone, they're gone forever.