A federal court upheld a rule limiting road construction and logging on about 50 million acres of national forestland nationwide.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s decision Thursday was hailed by Alaska conservation groups defending the U.S. Forest Service’s roadless rule.
“It’s a huge victory,” said Meredith Trainor, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council which opposes expanded logging in the Tongass National Forest. “The state of Alaska has been attacking the roadless rule almost since the rule was first written back in the early 2000s. The roadless rule protects intact forested lands within the national forest system, so it obviously has a big impact on the people of Southeast Alaska and the Tongass National Forest.”
The roadless rule was put into place by the Clinton administration and has since seen numerous challenges from Alaska and other states in federal courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alaska Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills said the state is still reviewing whether it would appeal.
“We are disappointed in the District Court’s ruling,” Mills said. “It upheld the 2001 roadless rule and that just has huge impacts on Southeast Alaska and the needed responsible resource development in the region.”
Alaska’s timber industry sided with the state. It said the rule denied access to some of the more valuable timber stands in the Tongass.
- The new Fairbanks lab is fully operational, but it will need to get a final inspection in the coming weeks before the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office issues the license.
- Vigor Alaska’s shipyard in Ketchikan is potentially laying off up to 80 local employees this winter, as the company wraps up construction of two Alaska Marine Highway System ferries.
- After some Alaskans had their voter registration addresses changed before Tuesday's primary, state officials say affected voters can vote a questioned ballot at the polling place based on where they live.
- Political machinations have left the Juneau Assembly down to just seven members. That's empowered a three-member minority to block any actions between now and after the October election.