Sending Office: Honorable Don Young
Supported by Alaska Forest Association
Today, the House of Representatives will consider my amendment, #69 (Floor #14), to H.R. 2. My amendment will exempt National Forests in Alaska from the Roadless rule, which was promulgated in the final days of the Clinton Administration in 2001. The rule
specifically set aside 9.5 million acres of the Tongass National Forest from road development, effectively prohibiting access to mature timber stands.
The State of Alaska sued, and was granted a temporary exemption to Roadless in 2003. At that time, the Bush administration concluded that the social and economic hardships to Southeast Alaska outweigh the potential long-term ecological benefits because the
Tongass forest plan adequately provides for the ecological sustainability of the Tongass. That exemption was lifted in 2011 and is currently stuck in the courts.
Alaska has 12% of the total acreage of the national forest system, and the Tongass alone has 16.5 million acres. The state was disproportionately affected because the Tongass includes far more restricted Roadless area than anywhere else. Almost 92% of the
Tongass is inaccessible by road, so timber harvests are significantly limited.
In addition to the economic and social burden placed on Alaska by this rule, Roadless violates the authorities granted to Alaska in the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA). ANILCA affects the status and management of nearly all federal
lands within Alaska. When enacted, Congress protected the cultural and environmental values of public lands while also assuring the economic needs of Alaskans. Of the 16.8 million-acre Tongass, about 6.6 million acres are Congressionally-designated Wilderness,
National Monument, or land-use designation lands. In creating these, Congress intended ANILCA to enact the final federal conservation designations for the state. The Roadless rule undermines this principle.
The Roadless rule limits harvesting to under 8% of the Tongass. This makes conservation within the Forest more difficult because locations with less tourism and conservation value often cannot be selected for timber. Conservation and logging interests directly
compete for the same limited accessible acreage.
Southeast Alaska has lost tens of thousands of jobs in the logging and support industries. I ask for your support in passing this amendment to protect what remains of a once thriving industry in Alaska.
Please contact Martha Newell (email@example.com, x5-5765) on my staff if you have any questions.
Congressman for All Alaska
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0