Thursday, July 21, 2011

EPA criticizes federal plan for roadless forest land in Colorado

The government's latest plan for managing 4.2 million acres of remaining roadless national-forest land in Colorado offers the strictest protection for only about 13 percent of it and makes exceptions for mining, logging and ski-area expansion. Now, in a broad critique of that plan, the Environmental Protection Agency is seeking a much stronger approach. EPA officials have submitted a letter asking the Forest Service to ensure top-tier protection for 2.6 million acres, more than quadruple the current 562,200 acres. The EPA also is recommending measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from coal mining and to prevent harm to wetlands from development around ski areas. "We cannot force them to make these changes," EPA environmental scientist Elaine Suriano said at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "These are things we think are important. Generally, agencies pay attention to what other agencies have to say." Forest Service officials said they'll consider EPA concerns along with those of 55,000 others who submitted comments on the plan. Comments have been collected at federal offices in California...more

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