Statement: Ag Dept. to ‘repeal or replace’ rollback of Tongass National Forest protections

The USDA's reconsideration of Trump-era Alaska Roadless Rule is good news for America’s “Climate Forest”
For Immediate Release

DENVER -- The Biden administration announced Friday that the Department of Agriculture has reviewed and is proposing to “repeal or replace” the Trump administration’s rollback of protections for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.  In October, the Trump administration stripped “Roadless Rule” safeguards from 9.2 million acres in the Tongass. The Roadless Rule, established in 2001, is intended to help keep wild spaces in our national forest system wild. 

The largest forest in the U.S. Forest Service system, the Tongass provides critical habitat for wildlife and plays a significant role in absorbing and storing carbon, serving as a natural tool to help stop climate change.

Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:

“We applaud this first step in what we hope will be a swift process to restore full Roadless Rule protections to the Tongass National Forest. The Trump administration’s rollbacks were an attack on the Tongass, which is a priceless treasure and a beacon of nature. Many trees in the Tongass are older than the United States, and we must keep them standing tall because the forest serves as a vital bulwark against climate change. It also provides an irreplaceable home for our wildlife. This majestic wild space, which is home to species from the Prince of Wales flying squirrels and Sitka black-tailed deer to any of the thousands of migratory birds, would be forever changed for the worse if roads and logging equipment were allowed into the wild, roadless areas of the Tongass.”

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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.