Alaska sues US government to contest Tongass forest protections

By Clark Mindock
September 8, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The state of Alaska sued President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday seeking to block its decision to reverse a policy begun under his predecessor Donald Trump that had opened vast swaths of the Tongass National Forest, the largest such wilderness in the United States, to logging and mining. The state’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Anchorage, said the January decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to restore protections for 9.37 million acres (3.76 million hectares) of the southeastern Alaska forest undermines the state’s economy by prohibiting timber harvests and mining for essential minerals. The state’s lawsuit said the USDA decision was made without properly explaining its reasoning, in violation of federal law. The USDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Alaska said the protections reduce state tax revenues, increase the need for state expenditures on remote communities near the forest and prevent economic development.

Read More