Delegation hopes to kill roadless rule

July 13, 2011 

JUNEAU -- Alaska's congressional delegation is pushing legislation to repeal a rule that bars new roads and many timber sales in roadless areas of the state's national forests.

Alaska is home to the two largest national forests.

Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young say the 2001 rule doesn't make sense for Alaska. Begich said the U.S. Forest Service needs flexibility to address high unemployment rates and energy costs in Southeast Alaska. He says repealing the rule will help keep existing mills alive and allow for development of new hydro and mining projects.

A delegation press release said a court decision related to the Tongass makes 300,000 acres of roadless land off-limits, an area where logging would have been allowed by a forest management plan.

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