Roads to ruin

May 04, 1999

This is an excerpt of a Boston Globe editorial published Thursday.

THE CLINTON administration can improve its already strong environmental record if it presses ahead with restrictions on road construction in 33 million national forest acres that are open to logging and mining. It has already placed an 18-month moratorium on road building, but conservationists are concerned that the prohibition will be eased after an in-house study of the issue.

The road ban effectively blocks logging and mining operations and preserves the natural character of the forests. The 33 million acres represent about a sixth of the entire national forest acreage.

The Forest Service's chief, Michael Dombeck, has built a good reputation for restraint during his tenure despite constant pressure from industry and congressional supporters of maximum economic development.

He deserves support from Clinton administration officials who have staked out strong stands on environmental issues. Without such backing, the danger is that the Forest Service might yield to demands that these forest areas, which belong to the American people, be sacrificed to short-term business interests.

Pub Date: 5/04/99

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