Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave his first major speech on forests on August 14, laying out the direction that the administration will take on managing the nation’s public and private forests. Vilsack announced that the administration will defend the 2001 roadless rule by appealing an injunction issued earlier this summer (see related article) and, if roadless area protection on national forests cannot be assured through the courts, then the administration will initiate a new rulemaking to accomplish this goal. He further announced that the administration will not appeal a June federal court ruling that threw out the Bush administration’s 2005 rules that govern management planning for the national forests and will instead develop new regulations. AF&PA had urged the Administration to appeal the June court decision.In the speech, Vilsack noted the challenging forest health crisis and the critical role that forests play in providing clean water, indicating that “restoration means managing forest lands first and foremost to protect our water resources.” He also stressed the need for attention beyond the federal lands, suggesting that the millions of acres of private forests require protection in order to address the challenge of keeping forests intact. For more information, contact Nadine Block at 202.463.2753 or email@example.com.