Despite the existential threat posed by unprecedented climate change, the Trump administration has continued its efforts to clear-cut the Tongass National Forest by exempting the Tongass from the Roadless Rule. This action jeopardizes the integrity of North America’s largest carbon sink precisely when we need it most, and ignores Alaska Native Tribes in the region who have repeatedly asked the administration to listen to their interests and keep the Roadless Rule intact for the Tongass. Earthjustice, along with our partners at NRDC, responded last month by suing the Trump administration on behalf of Tribal governments, tourism businesses, commercial fishing organizations, and conservation groups to challenge the gutting of these protections.
We have emailed you about this fight on several occasions — but it’s different this time. While we continue to grapple with the ramifications of the recent attack on the Capitol and our members of Congress, the Trump administration has not stopped its assault on vital protections for people and the environment. The Roadless Rule is yet another case where the people have been ignored as the administration pursues its own interests. And that’s why we need you to tell the Biden administration to take decisive action to respect people’s wishes and preserve the Tongass.
We need bold action now to cut our carbon emissions significantly, and the Tongass is a critical part of this effort. It has already stored as much carbon as what 128 coal-fired power plants produce annually — and continues to store more and more each passing year. In our last decade to take meaningful action to fight the climate crisis we simply cannot afford to clear-cut a forest that’s helping us survive. And the Tongass is a globally significant temperate rainforest that should be protected for its amazing lands and wildlife, which support vital ways of life for Alaska Native people and local economies based on the natural forest, like salmon fishing and tourism.
The Roadless Rule, implemented 20 years ago, prevents clearcutting and other damaging activities in about 56 million acres of national forestland across the country. The Trump administration directed the Forest Service to exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule, but the Biden administration can undo this and restore protections to the Tongass.
Tell President-elect Biden to reverse the Trump administration’s reckless actions which put corporate profits above the public interest, and instead to protect our national forests and our climate for future generations!