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Trump administration’s final decision on the Roadless Rule means certain turmoil in the Tongass National Forest

by Katie Nelson

October 28, 2020

The rollback of the 2001 conservation measure sets a dangerous precedent for timber lobbyists and politicians nationwide

Washington, DC — Tomorrow, the Trump administration will issue its official record of decision to gut the Roadless Rule in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, immediately opening up the nation’s largest national forest to a catastrophic new surge of clearcut logging. More than nine million acres of previously protected pristine, intact and old growth forest will now be in jeopardy. The rollback of the popular 2001 conservation measure also sets a hazardous precedent for timber industry lobbyists and politicians nationwide to exploit our most prized wild and protected areas, to ignore the voices of Native Alaskans and to put the economic future of Southeast Alaska in peril. 

In response, Greenpeace USA Senior Forests Campaigner Dr. Amy Moas said: 

The Trump administration’s decision to decimate the Roadless Rule will have permanent consequences for the Tongass National Forest, the wildlife it houses, the carbon it holds, and the Native Alaskans who rely on it. As some of the last and largest remaining tracts of intact temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass National Forest is irreplaceable. 

“Destructive development in the country’s largest national forest — such as extractive logging and expansive road building — will be catastrophic for generations to come, both increasing pollution and curbing our natural ability to minimize its impacts. Healthy forests are our first line of defense in the fight against the growing climate emergency. We need codified forest protections more than ever if we are to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. And a thriving Tongass is imperative to the lives and subsistence of Alaska Natives, and the local economy.

“We need to place wildlife, recreation, and the wellbeing of our planet above the interests of wealthy elites. We’re calling on Congress once again to codify the Roadless Area Conservation Act and reverse this reckless decision so our prized wild places are permanently protected. Our legislators must act now.” 

In January 2020, the US Forest Service received a quarter of a million comments in response to the draft proposal to gut this conservation measure — 96% of which voiced support for safeguarding the Roadless Rule. Despite this, the Trump administration moved forward with this destructive decision. 

Notes:

Last month, Greenpeace activists staged the Trump administration’s destruction of the Tongass National Forest in response to these rollbacks to the Roadless Rule. Greenpeace USA and its allies are calling on Congress to support the Roadless Area Conservation Act to codify protections for our last remaining wild places. 

Photos of the activity are available here: https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MDHUZ5C4N

To maintain independence, Greenpeace USA does not endorse or oppose any political party, candidate, or elected official. We work to hold all candidates for office to the standard that science says is necessary to avert climate crisis, which means supporting a Green New Deal and ending fossil fuels.

Contact:

Katie Nelson, Strategic Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected]

 

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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