Posts tagged: Tongass

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Tongass


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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Tom Waldo's blog posts
03 April 2014, 11:52 AM
Will the plight of a rare Alaskan wolf save our largest national forest?
The Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni). (ADF&G Photo)

For the Tongass National Forest, last week brought a long-overdue agency action that helped offset an unfortunate court decision.

The Tongass stretches 500 miles by 100 miles through the islands of Alaska's southeast panhandle. In a day you can walk from its cold North Pacific waters up salmon-filled streams, through lush ancient rainforest to jagged alpine peaks overlooking massive icefields and glaciers.

Sadly, six decades of clearcutting the best stands of old-growth forest, facilitated by 5,000 miles of logging roads, has decimated much of the habitat in this magnificent place.

View Shawn Eisele's blog posts
25 October 2012, 1:00 PM
State permit allowing log storage facility challenged
Dungeness crabs in a crab trap. (Debra Hamilton / DFG)

Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is as much ocean as land. It includes saltwater bays, fjords, canals, channels, and too many islands to count.

At this intersection of land and ocean, life flourishes where forest creeks and streams empty nutrients into shallow saltwater bays. Among other species, dungeness crabs flourish, fed seasonally by the carcasses of spawned out salmon.

One such estuary 20 miles south of Petersburg in Alexander Bay is a place called the Pothole. It’s named for the crab pots used by the commercial crab fishery that thrives there.

Although the Pothole is a great place for crab fishermen to pursue their livelihood, the state of Alaska recently granted the U.S. Forest Service a permit for a logging company to store recently-cut logs in the Pothole’s shallow waters. The permit was granted after the Forest Service claimed it had no alternative, a claim later found to be untrue.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
20 November 2011, 12:08 AM
Court ruling climaxes 13-year legal struggle
Young boy fishing in the West Fork Humptulips River by the Moonlight Dome Roadless Area in Washington’s Olympic National Forest. (© Thomas O’Keefe)

Last month, protection for nearly 50 million acres of wild lands was resoundingly affirmed in a court decision that will benefit future generations. After 13 years of legal battles by Earthjustice on behalf of our allies, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the Roadless Rule, a landmark preservation act that protects our nation’s wild forests and grasslands from new road building, logging and development.

The conviction behind the Roadless Rule, that we should protect pristine wild lands not only for the well-being of the last survivors of our wild heritage, but also for our own well-being, is one held by most Americans. The public outpouring of support for the Roadless Rule has been unprecedented. The Roadless Rule victory is living proof that the desire to protect America’s natural heritage lives on in us all.

But despite overwhelming public support for the Rule, the fight to uphold it has been far from easy and is still not over. Since the Clinton administration first began considering the idea of protecting the last undeveloped lands on our national forests, the Roadless Rule has been subjected to relentless attacks by loggers, miners and supporting politicians.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
21 June 2011, 5:48 PM
State tries old, discredited legal arguments in new roadless attack
Tongass National Forest

The long and winding saga of the Roadless Rule, adopted in the Clinton administration after an exhaustive public process, just took a new turn, though it smacks of desperation.

To recap, the Roadless Rule was put in place to protect 58.5 million acres of undeveloped and otherwise unprotected land on the national forests. The rule has been subject of nine lawsuits. An appeals court in Denver has yet to rule on a lawsuit out of Wyoming; the others have concluded with the Roadless Rule still standing.

We said nine suits had been filed to challenge the rule. Make that 10. On Friday, June 17, the state of Alaska filed a new suit seeking to overturn the rule in its entirety.

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
14 June 2011, 3:31 PM
Protecting the oldest among us
Al (left) and his young girlfriend Patches. (Saul Young / Knoxville News Sentinel)

Two longtime bachelors are proving that it’s never too late to find love.

Al (widowed) and Tex (serially dater) were getting up there in the years and were perhaps more than a bit rusty on the romance angle, neither having enjoyed the company of the fairer sex for decades. But when the lovely Patches and coquettish Corky came to town, all bets were off and these old-timers were back in the game. The girls were nearly half their age, but love knows no boundaries—and these Aldabra giant tortoises were no exception.

Humans have Internet dating sites; Al and Tex had Knoxville Zoo Assistant Curator of Herpetology Michael Ogle. Noting the relative abundance of eligible Aldabra debutantes at Zoo Atlanta, Ogle hatched a plan of romance with his herpetologist colleagues.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 April 2011, 10:27 AM
Attorney Tom Waldo explains why our National Forests are worth fighting for

(This is the second in a series of Q & As with Earthjustice staff who work to protect our nation's forests and their critical natural resources and wildlife. Protecting our national forests, in particular, is essential for the future of our nation. The Obama administration recently proposed new planning rules that may leave our National Forests in peril. National forests are the single largest source of clean drinking water in the United States, serving 124 million Americans. Visit our Forests For Our Future campaign site to learn more. Tom Waldo joined Earthjustice in 1989 and is a staff attorney in the Juneau, Alaska office.)

EJ: Tell us about your work to protect national forests.

TW: In a couple dozen cases or more, I have represented a wide variety of clients in lawsuits and administrative appeals seeking to protect the old growth of the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska as well as pristine roadless areas in all the national forests. The main threat we have countered is clearcut logging and its associated road construction, though this work sometimes encompasses mining operations, proposed highways, and the like. Besides the litigation, we work closely with our clients in administrative and Congressional advocacy, ensuring that our legal and political strategies are integrated.

EJ: How did this work begin?

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
10 March 2011, 2:13 PM
Bush-Alaska ploy is undone by a federal judge
Tongass National Forest. Courtesy ourforests.org.

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule, adopted at the end of the Clinton administration, banned most logging and road-building on the last 58.5 million unspoiled and unprotected acres on the national forests. It was immediately challenged by states, timber companies and other interests in nine lawsuits, one of which is still awaiting final resolution.

In Alaska, the state and the Forest Service cut a back-room deal: The state sued and the government caved, excluding environmental groups and Native Alaskan organizations from the process. This was called “The Tongass Exemption,” and it removed the Tongass National Forest—the biggest and wildest in the system by far—from the Roadless Rule.

And there it sat for most of 10 years. Environmental groups, via Earthjustice litigation, were able to block every new attempt to cut trees in roadless areas, but the exemption hung like an ugly shroud over everything—until last Friday (March 4), when Judge John Sedwick threw it out and reinstated the rule for the Tongass.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 November 2010, 4:04 PM
Buoyed by supporters, Earthjustice expands to meet the challenge
Roadless areas of the Tongass N.F. are among Earthjustice's top priorities for protection

Although the recent elections signal a return to more inhospitable times for environmental protection in Congress, we are sustained by two constants: the power of the law and the dedication of our supporters.

The law provides leverage for progress even when political winds shift, and our steadfast supporters have shown time and again that they trust in our ability to wield it for positive change, regardless of the prevailing politics.

That backing has helped us through difficult times. Like so many American families and businesses, we were impacted by the economic recession. Thankfully, as we prepared to tighten our belts, our supporters sent a clear message with their generous donations: don't cut back your work to protect our environment.

Fueled by that generosity, we expanded our litigation and advocacy to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities for advancing environmental issues that have existed over the past two years—and that still exist as we look at the next two. With Thanksgiving at hand, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on the progress made that wouldn't have been possible without your support.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
01 April 2010, 1:31 PM
New book explores the ecology of the Tongass National Forest

A lovely new book arrived recently at Earthjustice headquarters. Salmon in the Trees is a beautiful, coffee-table book from photographer Amy Gulick, featuring essays by several natural history writers. The book explores the interconnected ecology of America's largest temperate rainforest, the Tongass National Forest.

As many of you know, Earthjustice has been working to protect the Tongass for decades. Our latest effort is a lawsuit to end a Bush-era exemption for the forest from protection under the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. (Video after the jump.)

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
21 January 2010, 12:25 PM
Focus is on clean energy, natural heritage, and health

Last year, the U.S. government started taking environmental protection seriously again, but as 2010 dawns, we continue to see political and economic interests preventing or stalling critical environmental solutions.

In the face of this opposition, this year Earthjustice is targeting key issues with our legal and advocacy work. Our focus is on three core priorities: building a clean energy future, protecting our natural heritage, and safeguarding our health.

To avoid global warming's worst impacts, we must build a clean energy future. Reducing demand through efficiency and increasing supply from renewable sources of power are cornerstones of the foundation. But these steps are obstructed by the political stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry. Earthjustice is using the law to help break our national reliance on fossil fuels, which we continue to extract, burn, and subsidize heavily with taxpayer money, despite the destructive impact on people and the planet.

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