Bearing Witness: Reflections on the Mt. Polley Mine Disaster Four Years Later

On September 30th, I joined a group traveling through the beautiful and rugged terrain of British Columbia (BC) to reach the site of the Mt. Polley Mine disaster.  The trip was organized by the Western Mining Action Network (WMAN) and MiningWatch Canada, following the annual WMAN Conference.  We took part in the nearly 17-hour trek to witness, first-hand, the devastation caused to the Quesnel Watershed and nearby communities. 

What we saw was heartbreaking, terrifying, and . . . hopeful. 

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Share what you love and win prizes

Share_what_makes_you_smile_copy.jpgDo you enjoy taking photos of what you see around you and want to protect Southeast Alaska? Protect what you love through Tongass Imprints, a collaboration between SEACC and Water Reporter, and start sharing what inspires you about Southeast.

It’s simple. Take photos of the things that make Southeast Alaska special to you. From the people and places you see every day to wildlife, mountain peaks, and rivers, there is always something to share, celebrate, and protect. Post your photos on the Water Reporter App (available from the App Store or Google Play) or upload and share right from your computer on the Water Reporter website. When you share photos with SEACC they will be added to our online map and used when we talk to policymakers about protecting the places we all care about.

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Taxpayer dollars wasted trying to sell Tongass old growth - The North Kuiu Timber Sale

Do you know where your tax dollars are going? Here on the Tongass, the Forest Service has spent over $4.5 million since 2004 trying to make the North Kuiu timber sale pencil out positively. For the second time in the past two years, the Forest Service received no bids on this money-losing sale. Timber sales like North Kuiu reflect the realities of logging on the Tongass today -- even with heavy taxpayer subsidies, the high costs and far distance to markets make Tongass timber uncompetitive in today’s timber markets.  

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Meet the New Faces of SEACC!

We are excited to announce that SEACC is growing! In the past months, we have welcomed three new staff members to our ranks, adding one new position, the Inside Passage Waters Program Manager. With so many new faces and perspectives we want to give you the opportunity to get to know them better and say hello!


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27 Years of Protecting the Tongass

buffer_strip_buck.jpgTwenty-seven years ago, Buck Lindekugel was hired on at SEACC as our Grassroots Attorney. To celebrate we sat down to hear about some of the wins, losses, and long campaigns that have defined his time here at SEACC and in many ways have defined the conservation movement here in Southeast Alaska. Buck’s work has focused on safeguarding the special areas so important to Southeast communities and residents and defending the promise of Tongass reform by pushing the Forest Service to uphold their obligation to manage the land for all forest users, not just a select few timber companies. Many of the names, places, and issues he has worked on still ring familiar today and continue to inspire us due to his hard work protecting our rainforest home. 


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H.R. 232 Threatens National Forests

On January 3, 2017, Alaskan Congressman Don Young fired the first shot in the coming battle over the future of our national forests. H.R. 232, the State National Forest Management Act of 2017 allows states to acquire up to 2 million acres from the “eligible portions of the National Forest System” within their borders. This bill would be applied to all National Forests throughout the US, including the Tongass here in Southeast. 

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The Road to No Road

It was in the early 1990s that the latest incarnation of “The Road” took shape. The idea was to create easier access to Juneau, Alaska’s capitol, which remains accessible only by air or sea. While Juneau is not the only capitol city not connected by road, sharing that designation with Honolulu and Victoria, BC, it is the only one located on the mainland.


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Thank you for speaking up for the Tongass

Thanks to you who took the time to comment on the draft Tongass Land Management Plan amendment. You are one of roughly quarter million people who weighed-in on the future of the Tongass! (It is, after all, the crown jewel of our National Forest system.) The Forest Service is now tasked with analyzing and, we hope, incorporating many of the concerns you raised, from providing even more solid protections for the salmon strongholds to putting an end to old-growth clearcutting sooner rather than later.

We should see a final version of the Tongass Plan later this year - if you commented on the draft you'll have an opportunity to weigh-in on the final. In the meantime, peruse our comment letter or the comprehensive 130 page comment letter we jointly submitted with Earthjustice and other conservation allies. Or, get outside and enjoy our fabulous forest home.

Summary of the Draft Tongass Plan

In November of 2015 the U.S. Forest Service released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and preferred alternative for public review on its proposed Tongass Land Management Plan amendment. Public comments are due by February 22, 2016.

At first glance, the Forest Service’s draft plan makes small steps forward; the preferred alternative, Alternative 5, finally takes old-growth in salmon strongholds like Port Houghton, Poison Cove and Ushk Bay, Castle River, Broad Finger Creek, and East Kuiu (No Name, Reid & Alvin Bays) off the chopping block in the near term.  

However, the proposed plan continues controversial clearcutting of valuable old-growth forests over the next 15 years! In fact the Forest Service plans to log more old growth in the next decade s than they did in the last decade. The Tongass National Forest is the only National Forest in America that still allows clearcut logging of irreplaceable old-growth forests. What’s worse is that purchasers can export up to half of those logs without local processing, effectively sending local manufacturing jobs out of the region.  

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25th Anniversary of the Tongass Timber Reform Act

It has been 25 years since the Tongass Timber Reform Act (TTRA) was signed into law. This legislation became the most significant piece of conservation legislation signed by President George H. W. Bush.

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