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Protesters target agriculture undersecretary over roadless rule

Posted: Wednesday, August 06, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) About 60 environmental activists gathered outside Anchorage's Loussac Library Wednesday to protest the Bush administration's recent proposal to exempt the Tongass and Chugach national forests from the Clinton-era roadless rule.

Activists staged the ''silent protest'' near the entrance of the library because Mark Rey, the Agriculture undersecretary who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, was inside. Rey was attending a congressional hearing on three Alaska land conveyance bills introduced by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

The protesters waved signs and held a long banner covered with 1,000 letters written by Alaskans in support of the roadless policy that was intended to block development on nearly a third of national forests. Bobbie Jo Skibo, one of the protest organizers, said the letters represent 30,000 written by Alaskans.

''A diverse audience of Alaskans fishermen, hunters, ex-loggers and conservationists alike want to see the Chugach and Tongass protected for future generations,'' Skibo said.

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