Environmental Policy Expert to Testify Before Government Reform Committee on Roadless Plan for National Forests

Washington, DC, March 26, 2001 – In testimony tomorrow before the House Committee on Government Reform, Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow and University of Maryland professor  Dr. Robert H. Nelson will explain the problems with the recent designation of 58 million acres of federal forest land as “roadless.”  The controversial rules, which would forbid the building of roads into vast areas of U.S. Forest Service-managed land, were put into effect in the last days of the Clinton Administration. 

“The policy doesn’t make sense from any sort of management perspective,” said Dr. Nelson.  “The rule will prevent the Forest Service from taking care of a host of needs, including reducing fire hazards, future suppression of fires, biodiversity improvements, and it will remove a large part of the national forest system for expanded recreational enjoyment except for those who can take part in rugged recreational activities.”

Clinton’s last minute roadless designation, which Nelson calls “an assault on the rural west,” produced an unprecedented uproar by over 2,400 state legislators across the nation.  The land mass designated by Clinton as roadless increased the effective size of the wilderness system in the national forests by 160 percent.  Nelson recommends in his testimony that Congress rescind the regulations through the application of the Congressional Review Act, the same legislation previously used by Congress to rescind the Clinton administration ergonomics rule.

“Unfortunately, this action means almost half the national forest system in the United States would now be closed off to the very people who live there.  Say goodbye to new opportunities in these areas for hiking, camping, backpacking, hunting, fishing and bird watching for many people under the roadless plan,” said Dr. Nelson.


Dr. Robert H. Nelson – Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute


Hearing of the House Government Reform Committee,

Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources & Regulatory Affairs


“A Rush to Regulate: The Congressional Review Act and Recent Federal Regulations”


Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2154

Date & time

Tuesday, March 27, 2001 – 10:00 am

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