Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How to Manage 4.1 Million Acres of Forest

Lawmakers are giving Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter and his administration some time to decide how 4.1 million acres of roadless forest land in Colorado should be managed while several groups are lobbying officials on a plan endorsed by the former administration.

Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction and Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, said they’ll delay introducing a resolution asking Ritter to adopt the plan to give him and new state natural resources chief Harris Sherman time to talk to the groups.

But the legislators want Ritter to leave intact the plan written by a task force and approved by Owens before he left office in January.

Owens, a Republican who couldn’t run again because of term limits, sent the petition seeking protection for most of the 4.1 million acres of forest land to federal officials. In 2005, Owens criticized a Clinton-era road-building ban on 58.5 million acres of forests nationwide as creating wilderness outside the congressional process.

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