Is Colorado's Roadless Plan Better?

April 7 2010, 10:03 AM

At the moment, Colorado and Idaho are the only two U.S. states taking advantage of a Bush-era option to create management plans for so-called "roadless" areas. The other states are mired in a fight over a Clinton-era plan that aimed to protect 58 million acres of federal land nationwide, according to The New York Times. Colorado's plans to preserve natural areas have come into sharper focus, after the state submitted a revised plan for management of some 4.2 million acres of federal land here in Colorado. The ski industry generally likes what it sees, while enviros voice mixed reactions, notes the Denver Business Journal. To name a few provisions, state officials say their plan would protect some 400,000 acres of roadless land that was overlooked in the Clinton-era's 2001 rule; eliminate a loophole that would allow construction projects in roadless areas; and ban road-building for future oil-and-gas leases. Jane Danowitz, director of the Pew Environment Group's U.S. public lands program, doesn't like Colorado and Idaho's go-it-alone mentality. She cites scientific support for the Clinton rule and says the new plan, endorsed by Governor Bill Ritter, "would allow major new mining and drilling activity in Colorado's back country, threatening water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and sustainable economic growth" (via The Colorado Independent).