The U.S. Forest Service has announced a proposal to restore Roadless Rule protections in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. This rulemaking will reverse a rollback initiated under the Trump administration that was designed to auction off some of the oldest and largest trees in the Southeast Alaska rainforest to the timber industry. The Forest Service will begin accepting public comment on November 23.
While the announcement carries promise for the future of the Tongass, the proposal to restore the Roadless Rule is not yet finalized, so defenders of the national forest will rally supporters yet again to make sure the Biden administration makes good on its commitment. This proposed sweeping protection for lands and waters of the Tongass would be a meaningful step toward addressing the climate crisis.
“We see this crucial protection for the Tongass as a moral imperative,” said Blaine Miller-McFeeley, senior legislative representative on Earthjustice’s Policy and Legislation Team. “The Tongass is one of the most important forests in the world for carbon sequestration, and the lifeblood for many Alaska Native communities. We are extremely thankful to see the Biden Forest Service taking this step, and we look forward to finally seeing Trump’s attempted attack on this forest tossed into the recycling bin of history.”