Ingrained in the psyche of many western legislators, including Alaska’s Congressional delegation, is the notion that federal regulations are too strict. If they could be circumvented by conveying Tongass National Forest lands to private interests or the state, industry would gain unfettered access to Tongass resources.
The Tongass National Forest is under assault. There are those who want to carve it up, remove protections for critical fish and wildlife habitat, and diminish the public's voice in how it is managed. These have long been the goals of pro-development, big timber interests, and now with the support of Alaska's Congressional delegation they hope to make it all happen.
In late August, GSACC and its allied organizations submitted a formal objection to the Forest Service’s Draft Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) Amendment. Our objection document is 213 pages, and 105,000 words. At stake are the future of the region’s wildlife and the people who use the Tongass, and our ability to have a rational long-term economy.
Conservationists need to make known to the Governor their arguments in favor of continued and improved Alaska Marine Highway System ferry transportation between Juneau, Haines, and Skagway instead of building a road which would cross multiple avalanche paths and be enormously expensive to build and maintain.
Last week GSACC sued the Forest Service over its Big Thorne logging project, on Prince of Wales Island. We are joined by four other organizations in the suit. Big Thorne is by far the largest logging project on the Tongass since the pulp mill era ended nearly two decades ago.