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Forest Service Extends Timeframe for Public Comment on Proposed Roadless Rule

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2004 -- U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service today extended its public comment period 60 additional days for a proposed rule on protecting roadless values in national forests and grasslands based on several requests from the public. The original comment period was slated to end Sept. 14; comments must now be received in writing by Nov. 15.

On July 16, the Forest Service published a proposed rule to revise regulations concerning the Roadless Area Conservation Rule published on January 12, 2001, which was struck down in July 2003 by the District Court for the District of Wyoming. The proposed rule would allow governors to petition the Secretary of Agriculture to establish or adjust management direction that exists in forest plans for inventoried roadless areas within their state.

The proposed rule is available at www.roadless.fs.fed.us. Written comments on the proposed rule may be mailed to: Content Analysis Team, ATTN: Roadless State Petitions, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 221090, Salt Lake City, UT 84122; faxed to (801) 517-1014; or e-mailed to statepetitionroadless@fs.fed.us. Comments also may be submitted from: http://www.regulations.gov. To send comments in batched e-mails from the same server, please call (801) 517-1020 to facilitate the transfer of the comments. The Forest Service will issue a final rule after it evaluates public comments.

An interim directive remains in effect to conserve inventoried roadless areas until the new rule is promulgated.

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