The Orion North timber sale would have cost taxpayers more than $1.5 million to build roads in an unspoiled area, while loggers would pay less than a tenth of that amount for the trees. But following an Earthjustice lawsuit on behalf of several environmental organizations, a court put a halt to the plans until the Forest Service completes a fresh environmental impact statement that takes changing timber economics into account.
Over the last decade, timber economics in southeast Alaska have changed dramatically; the cost of offering timber sales has skyrocketed, while timber-sale revenues have plummeted. Despite this economic upheaval, the Forest Service refused to reevaluate its 10-year-old decision authorizing this logging.
"Timber sales like this one are a waste of taxpayer money," said Earthjustice attorney Kate Glover. "It's time to stop cutting trees in roadless areas of the Tongass, and to put that money into restoration projects instead -- ert repairs, stream restoration, and backlogged road maintenance -- projects that provide needed jobs on the Tongass, fix past damage, and have the support of local communities."
Earthjustice attorneys represented Tongass Conservation Society, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, Center for Biological Diversity, and Cascadia Wildlands Project.