The Alaska Region of the U.S. Forest Service today released a final environmental impact statement for the Central Kupreanof timber sale project, which would require 15 miles of new roads to log 1,339 acres of old growth forest in a roadless area of the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska. Because the project is located in a roadless area, it would require the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture.
Following is a statement of Tom Waldo, attorney in the Alaska Office of Earthjustice:
“This is a reckless action by local officials in the Tongass National Forest. This proposed clearcut logging would violate the promises of the President and the Secretary of Agriculture to protect the remaining roadless areas of the nation’s national forests. And, even more importantly, it would violate the strong wishes of the American people as well as local residents. Kupreanof Island — like other roadless areas of the Tongass — is vital for fish and wildlife, and as a buffer against global warming.
“The Secretary of Agriculture should just say no to this project.
“This project also highlights the need for the Secretary to rescind the Bush administration’s ‘temporary’ exemption to the Roadless Rule for the Tongass, adopted six years ago but still on the books. It is a vestige of defunct and destructive policies. It was never intended to remain in effect this long, and it leads to irresponsible, wasteful actions like this clearcutting proposal.”