Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, hailed the announcement as proof that the Obama administration intends to turn away from the Bush administration's forest policy, which he described as "chopping away at the health and future of America's forests."
Rahall was one of more than 120 House members who sent a letter to Vilsack in March urging the one-year moratorium. Twenty-five senators sent a similar letter.
William Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society, said Vilsack's order would protect roadless forests that safeguard clean drinking water, preserve wildlife habitat and defend against the increasing threats of global warming.
The Wilderness Society continues to believe the roadless rule is a national policy that should cover all national forests, including the 9.3 million acres in Idaho, Meadows said.