It appears as though the Forest Service has decided not to release the Draft Supplemental EIS for Oil and Gas Leasing on the North Slope Roadless Area because of the road moratorium. On the surface, that gives us a bit of time to continue to work on the issue. It also seems to say clearly that the Forest Service was not proposing a No Lease recommendation on the North Slope roadless area. That is the bad news. And that could be terrifying news-- one Main Fork after the next. One road and drill site in each drainage of the North Slope. A loss of the roadless, wild character of 80,000 North Slope acres.
In September the Lewis and Clark National Forest showed the kind of vision we expect from the Wasatch and Ashley National Forests. On over a 100 mile stretch of land where the eastern Montana plains meet the Rocky Mountains-- along the Bob Marshall Wilderness-- the Forest Service said NO to oil and gas leasing. Citing unique wildlife values, wildness, aesthetics and ecological concerns, the Forest Service made a powerful visionary decision.
>Like the conflict on the Uintas, this has been a long battle. The ecological values on the Uintas are of the same consequence. The landscape, while smaller, is of profound importance to maintaining the integrity of the Uintas and the oil and gas potential is nil. It is time the Forest Service set forward a vision for the Uintas.