Judge rejects Alaska challenge to roadless rule

Photo of trees in the Tongass National Forest

The Tongass National Forest covers roughly 16.8 million acres. (Photo by Henry Hartley/Wikimedia Commons)

A U.S. District Court Judge in Washington, D.C., has rejected a challenge by the state of Alaska to the Clinton-era “roadless rule” for the Tongass National Forest.

The 2001 rule protects roadless areas in national forests from commercial logging and road building.

The Bush administration in 2003 exempted the Tongass, which covers much of southeast Alaska, from the rule.

A federal judge in March 2011 overturned that decision.

Alaska lawyers after the 2011 decision challenged the original rule and the court decision that the exemption was improper. Gov. Sean Parnell said it would restrict timber supplies and mining jobs.

The eight-page opinion Monday by Judge Richard J. Leon concluded that the state’s appeal, filed more than six years after the original decision, was untimely.

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