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Save the Tongass — America’s Climate Forest

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What’s At Stake

The Trump administration removed crucial protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, opening the door to clear-cutting of countless century-old trees at the behest of the logging industry. Alaska Natives such as the Tlingit, who have stewarded the land since time immemorial, asked the Trump administration to delay until the pandemic is contained and tribal leaders have the bandwidth to engage with the process — and they were ignored, to the detriment of tribes, the public, and our climate. Please join us in telling Congress to protect the Tongass by passing the Roadless Area Conservation Act.Tell Congress to stop the Forest Service from putting corporate profits above the public interest and to protect our national forests, our air, and our water for future generations!

The Tongass National Forest in Alaska is a rare temperate rainforest. It provides vital habitat for eagles, bears, wolves, salmon, and numerous other species. The Tlingit rely upon its lands and waters for their way of life and culture. Its wild salmon support a commercial fishery central to the local economy. And visitors from around the world travel to the Tongass for world-class recreation, hunting, sport, and fishing. The Tongass is America’s Amazon — a vast and priceless carbon reserve that must be protected to battle climate change.

These unique and irreplaceable values of the Tongass National Forest have been protected by the Roadless Rule, one of the most popular conservation measures of the last century. Implemented in 2001, the Roadless Rule prevents clearcutting and other damaging activities in about 56 million acres of national forestland across the country. Nevertheless, the Trump administration directed the Forest Service to exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule.

The Tongass’ rich wildlife and majestic forest stands, the vital sustainable industries dependent on the healthy forest, the rights of indigenous peoples in Southeast Alaska, and our national imperative to fight climate change should take precedence over the demands of a few corporations and their lobbyists wanting to open some of the last remaining old-growth temperate rainforests in the country to clear-cut logging.

Herbert River and Herbert Glacier
John Hyde

Herbert River is born from the meltwaters of the Herbert Glacier as it winds its way down through granite peaks and cliffs towards the sea, Juneau Ice Field, Juneau, Alaska.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

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Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

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It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.