The U.S. Administration Tuesday proposed lifting longstanding constraints on logging in a southeast Alaska forest, the country’s biggest national forest.
The U.S. Division of Agriculture, which oversees national forests, recommended sparing Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from the Clinton-era Roadless Rule that barred logging and mining in undeveloped forests. The regulation applies to 9.2 million acres, i.e., 55% of the woods.
The Tongass is the biggest intact temperate rainforest on the earth and spans 500 miles, covering most of southeast Alaska. The state’s capital, Juneau, is situated in the Tongass.
The USDA proposal is a part of President Donald Trump’s broader program to roll back environmental regulations to boost trade. The program is subject to a 60-day public comment interval once it’s reported in the Federal Register.
If followed, it will mark a win for Alaska state officers who petitioned for the change. Governor Mike Dunleavy and Senator Lisa Murkowski have mentioned the 2001 rule has cost Alaskans jobs by limiting opportunities for growth of industries, including timber, mining, tourism, and power.
Alaska’s three-member Congressional committee praised the offer in a joint statement.