In December, shortly before the holidays and the start of the government shutdown, SEACC and several of our allies filed objections on the proposed Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Forest Service for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project (POWLLAP).
One objection focused on the agency’s failure to consider and respond to the concerns raised over spraying herbicides on invasive plants. The other targeted the harmful environmental and economic impacts from the proposed decision to log roughly 24,000 acres of old-growth forest and build roughly 150 miles of road. The proposed development will impact salmon habitat, wildlife, and the people who depend on these valuable resources over the next 15 years.
On Tuesday of this past week, we were surprised to learn that the Forest Service was plowing ahead with the objection process for this project, despite the government shutdown. SEACC and our partners acted quickly, notifying the media, and submitting a letter asking why the agency was prioritizing logging interests over other pressing concerns -- like the massive landslide that smothered the South Thorne Bay-Kasaan Road on New Year’s Day. Our efforts paid off and the Forest Service postponed the proposed resolution meeting -- the only action possible given the specific direction previously received from the agency’s Washington D.C. office.
Let Chris French know about your concerns with how Region 10 is prioritizing its limited funds and “essential” staff time during the government shutdown.
Yesterday, Elizabeth Jenkins at KTOO covered the Forest Service’s initial intentions to move forward with the POWLLAP formal objection process despite the ongoing government shutdown. This action raises big questions in our mind about why the Alaska Region wasn’t following the government shutdown guidance it had received from Washington in the first place.
Take action: Tell Acting Deputy Chief of the United States Forest Service why Region 10 priorities were wrong.
Thanks for helping SEACC hold the Forest Service accountable. With your continued support and involvement, we know we can continue to protect the Tongass today and far into the future.