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State of Alaska files Tongass 'roadless rule' challenges

Alaska Dispatch

According to numerous sources, at the direction of Gov. Sean Parnell and Attorney General John Burns, the Alaska Department of Law filed two complaints Friday challenging the applicability of the so-called "roadless rule" in the Tongass National Forest. One is a lawsuit against the rule as a whole, arguing that the rule violates several federal acts, including ANILCA, and hamstrings development.

"Applying the roadless rule to national forest lands in Alaska diminishes jobs and hurts families, and removes local and regional management of the forests from the state, communities, residents and foresters," said Gov. Parnell in a statement. "A one-size-fits-all forest mandate from Washington, D.C., is the wrong approach."

Dan Lesh, communications director for the environmental group Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, commented via email to the Juneau Empire, “We’re disappointed but not surprised by the state’s decision. The fact is the Roadless Rule has no impact on projects currently proposed on the Tongass. Road building for timber sales has become uneconomical and the federal subsidies that supported these logging roads in the past have dried up.”

Also on Friday, the state filed an appeal to the March U.S. District Court decision that reinstated the roadless rule in the Tongass.

Learn much more from Ketchikan's SitNews, Greenwire (via The New York Times), the Juneau Empire and KTOO-FM (vial APRN). Download a .pdf copy of the complaint and notice of appeal from the state servers, here.