WASHINGTON (June 11, 2021) — The Biden administration today announced it will consider restoring protections for the 9 million acres of Tongass National Forest in Alaska.
The following is a statement from Niel Lawrence, Alaska director and senior attorney for the Nature program at NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council):
“The is the first step toward saving America’s last big rainforest, which is vital and precious to Alaska Native tribes, fish, and wildlife. Restoring such protections will greatly benefit the recreation, tourism, and commercial fishing industries that are the region’s economic lifeblood.
“The Biden administration should restore full protection to the Tongass wildlands and all they support. This is one of the last places on Earth we can allow to be destroyed for the sake of logging profits.”
The “Roadless Rule” issued by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, protected more than 9 million acres of old-growth forest in the Tongass National Forest as undeveloped “roadless” areas to preserve the sensitive ecology of a temperate rainforest that is America’s biggest forest storehouse of carbon.
In 2020, the Trump administration exempted the Tongass from the “Roadless Rule” which opened huge swaths of the area to the possibility of logging. Restoring this rule for the Tongass will safeguard its natural values, its world-class salmon runs, the thousands of jobs that depend on the forest, its unparalleled wildlife, and all of its carbon-rich old growth.