This has been a busy summer here on the Tongass and we wanted to share some highlights with you. Keep reading to find out about the status of the Farm Bill, the Roadless Rule, the UA Timber sale and the proposed Prince of Wales timber sale.
The Farm Bill
On June 21st, the US House of Representatives passed their version of the Farm Bill by the narrowest of margins – one vote. The bill included Alaska Don Young’s amendment to exempt the Tongass and Chugach National Forests from the Roadless Rule.
Next up is the Senate version of the bill, which is currently Roadless rider-free. The two bills will then go to conference to resolve the differences between the two versions. We will need your help to contact key Democrats in both the House and Senate to keep any Roadless rider out of the final bill and we will keep you updated.
Alaska’s Attack on the Roadless Rule
The State of Alaska is petitioning the US Department of Agriculture to create an exemption to the Roadless Rule on the Tongass and Chugach National Forests. Want to show your support for the Roadless Rule? Email Governor Walker and remind him that roadless area protection is good for Southeast Alaska’s economy – logging accounts for less than 1% of the jobs and earnings in Southeast Alaska, while tourism and commercial fishing support over 20%.
University Timber Sale
The University of Alaska Board of Regents gave their initial approval for a timber sale to proceed on 13,400 acres of forestland in the Chilkat Valley. These lands include those bordering both sides of the Klehini River within the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, the lower Takhin and Kicking Horse Rivers, steep slopes above Pyramid and Taiyasanka Harbors, and Glacier Point. Take a look at the potential locations here. Once a contract is negotiated, it will go back to the Board of Regents for approval sometime in July or August.
Prince of Wales Sale
SEACC submitted extensive comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POWLLA) related to the proposed fifteen-year sale of old growth from Prince of Wales Island. We signed onto comments submitted by Earthjustice on behalf of a number of conservation groups and submitted our own comments. With the assistance of the Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), we bolstered the record regarding proposals for treatment of invasive plant management proposed in the DEIS.
With your continued support and involvement, we know we can continue to protect the Tongass today and far into the future. We will keep you updated on what is up on America’s largest rainforest and what you can do to take action.