The Southeast tribal government in Kake had organized the deer and moose harvest early in the pandemic out of concerns about food security.
Tribal president Joel Jackson says the all-clear has been issued and people are venturing outdoors again.
Sealaska Corporation and The Nature Conservancy have set aside $10 and $7 million respectively in seed money to help support the fund.
Many Southeast Alaska homeowners are converting to electric heat pumps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and improve air quality. But in some of Southeast’s smallest communities, the high cost of electricity makes operating them unaffordable.
Analysis by the Woodwell Climate Research Center found that the Tongass National Forest holds 44% of all the carbon stored by the United States’ national forests.
Other parties defending the exemption include the city of Craig, statewide and Southeast chambers of commerce, electric utilities, shipping companies and resource development advocacy groups.
A coalition including environmental groups, tribes and fishermen filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to restore Roadless Rule protections to 9 million acres of Tongass National Forest.
The hydro project’s proponents hope it will lower the cost of energy and bring the community one step closer to energy independence.
In an order issued Wednesday, Judge Sharon L. Gleason wrote that federal officials had taken both conservation and public safety concerns into account when it approved Kake’s out-of-season hunt. She also noted that when federal officials reached out to state wildlife managers, they didn’t respond.
The Trump administration’s decision could be reversed through a court challenge or an act of Congress. Alternatively, another presidential administration could revisit the rule — but that would require public comment, meetings and another multi-year process.