California Fires Back at U.S. Forest Service

California FiresBack at U.S. Forest Service

7 March 2008

published by

USA — California’s Secretary for Resources MikeChrisman today questioned a roadless area speech delivered by U.S. AgricultureUndersecretary Mark Rey as being, “difficult tocomprehend.” Chrisman said Rey’sremarks regarding California roadless areas and fire suppression costs,delivered yesterday during a Wildland Urban Interface conference in Reno, “makeno sense at all and are contrary to the facts,”since California’s roadless area policy provides anexception for the construction of roads to fight fires.

“Since day one we have been clear and consistentwith our roadless policy and it has always included an exception for roads to bebuilt to fight fires,” Chrisman said. In fact, wehave put this in writing several times and it has in turn been acknowledged bythe Forest Service. So, it’s difficult tocomprehend Mark’s comments since they are contraryto the facts and to California’s roadless areapolicy.”

California’s policy, that the Forest Servicefails to recognize in management plans for four Southern California forests,specifically allows for roads to be built for fighting fires. Letters exchangedbetween Chrisman and two Forest Service regional foresters, attest to that fact.

On Feb. 28, Chrisman and California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr.filed a U.S. District court complaint contesting four Southern California forestmanagement plans. The litigation alleges that the Forest Service failed toconsider California’s roadless area policy inviolation of the National Forest Management Act. In addition, the complaintclaims that the Forest Service failed to conduct appropriate environmentalanalysis in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

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