Alaska asks US Supreme Court to review decision on 'roadless rule' in Tongass forest

JUNEAU — The state of Alaska wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision that reinstated prohibitions on road-building and timber harvests in roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest.

In July, a divided appeals court found the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not give a reasoned explanation for reversing course and creating a special exemption to the "roadless rule" for the Tongass. The change in course followed a change in administrations. The majority opinion stated that even when reversing a policy after an election, an agency cannot discard prior factual findings without a reasoned explanation.

The state argues that different values and priorities are a legitimate reason for a new administration to change policies of its predecessor.

A separate state challenge to the roadless rule is pending in federal court.