Today Senator Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Gallego (D-AZ) introduced legislation that if passed this year would keep the 2001 Roadless Rule on the Tongass, and National Forests around the country, by transforming it from an agency regulation into federal law! The Roadless Area Conservation Act would block states from weakening Roadless protections by creating state-specific rules. Sound familiar?
The Forest Service, at the behest of the State of Alaska and United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, is currently in the process of creating an Alaska-specific Roadless Rule. Should the state get its way, many of the protections from the national rule would disappear from the Tongass. Turning Roadless into law would mean states could only strengthen, not weaken, Roadless Rule protections.
This is the type of federal leadership the Alaska delegates should be exemplifying. Here at SEACC, we hope Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Representative Young are taking notes. The Roadless Rule protects Southeast’s lands and waters by stopping the construction of logging roads on more than 9 million acres of the Tongass, which provide clean water, outdoor recreation experiences, critical wildlife habitat, taxpayer savings, and supports subsistence hunting and fishing. It also allows access for hydro development, transmission lines, and mining projects.
Secretary Perdue still has an opportunity to follow Senator Cantwell and Representative Gallego’s leadership by identifying the “no action alternative,” which would keep the current 2001 National Roadless Rule on the Tongass, as the agency’s preferred alternative in the rulemaking process. We need your voice. Sign the pledge to protect the National Roadless Rule on the Tongass.
The Alaska Delegation’s constant push to exempt the Tongass from the National Roadless Rule demonstrates their inability to provide the leadership Southeast Alaska needs. The delegation is living in the past. Today the timber industry in Southeast Alaska contributes less than one percent of Southeast Alaska’s economy.
Join SEACC this summer in demanding that Secretary Sonny Perdue stand up to the Alaska Delegation and instead follow in the footsteps of Senator Cantwell and Representative Gallego by selecting the no action alternative for the Alaska-specific Roadless Rule.
The Alaska-specific Roadless Rule process is moving forward with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) scheduled to be released this summer at the height of the busiest time for fishing and tourism. With the introduction of this federal legislation, if you haven’t already pledged to protect the Tongass and the 2001 National Roadless Rule, now is the time!