Environment America delivers more than 10,000 petitions supporting protection for the Tongass National Forest

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Petitions urge leaders to reverse the Trump era rollback of roadless protections for Tongass, America’s largest national forest

Environment America

WASHINGTON — Environment America delivered 10,000 petitions to the U.S. National Forest Service Thursday, calling on the agency to act quickly to restore protections for the largest national forest in the system, the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. In October, the Trump administration removed 9.2 million acres of that forest from the Roadless Rule’s protection. The Roadless Rule, established in 2001, is intended to help keep wild spaces in our national forest system wild. 

“While we welcome President Biden’s early actions on climate change and land conservation, protecting the Tongass National Forest permanently should be part of the equation when it comes to meeting the administration’s environmental goals,” said Environment America Public Lands Director  Ellen Montgomery. “These petitions show what so many of us intuitively know: The Tongass is more valuable absorbing carbon and providing habitat for hundreds of species than it is for logging.” 

Indeed, expanding logging operations into roadless areas in the Tongass would be devastating for such species as the Prince of Wales flying squirrel, Sitka black-tailed deer and Queen Charlotte goshawks.

The Biden administration has made strong commitments to tackling climate change and conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. The Tongass is a significant carbon sink and permanently protecting the roadless areas could play a big role in the Forest Service piece of the overall climate change plan. 

“The Trump administration was short-sighted in removing protection,” Montgomery said. “The Biden administration should take the long view and preserve the Tongass for the species that live there now and for future generations.”



Environment America is a national network of 29 state environmental groups. Our staff work together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the United States put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy. Environment America is part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done. 

staff | TPIN

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