Statewide coalition files suit challenging reimposition of Tongass National Forest’s Roadless Rule

By Jim Clark
Alaska Native News
September 14, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

JUNEAU – On Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, a group of 24 diverse, statewide Alaska resource associations, Southeast Alaska communities, utilities, and businesses filed a Complaint opposing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) reimposition of the 2001 Roadless Rule on the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. This challenge is about Alaskans’ broader rights of access – to communities and resources. This lawsuit seeks to reverse the reimposition of the roadless rule in Alaska that currently blocks access for mining and hydroelectric facilities. The ability to provide inexpensive, efficient, and clean hydropower to Southeast residents and businesses is severely limited by the Roadless Rule. Timber harvest is currently prohibited in the 9.4 million acres known as Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs) by the 2016 Tongass Forest Plan. This lawsuit does not seek to change that. It would take Forest Service rulemaking and the Environmental Impact Statement process to change that Forest Plan.

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