Public lands: U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to Tongass National Forest roadless area protection

Tongass National Forest map
The Tongass National Forest’s roadless areas will continue to be protected from logging and other development.

Alaska’s bid for more logging in roadless areas hits a brick wall

Staff Report

Fifteen years of wrangling over a national public lands roadless rule ended with a whimper last week, as the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the State of Alaska to open parts of the Tongass National Forest to logging.

Alaska went to the Supreme Court to try and overturn lower court rulings that had found that the Bush administration improperly exempted the Tongass from the landmark conservation measure.

A coalition including the Organized Village of Kake (a federally recognized Alaska Native tribe), tourism businesses, and conservationists joined the federal government in urging the Supreme Court to leave the lower court rulings intact.

The roadless sections of the Tongass National Forest are important for wildlife and to local residents for hunting, fishing, recreation, and tourism, the driving forces of the local economy.

“The Supreme Court’s decision means that America’s biggest national forest, the Tongass, will continue to benefit from a common-sense rule that applies nationwide,” said Earthjustice attorney Tom Waldo.

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