Tongass National Forest Logging Plans Rejected Because of Exaggerated Numbers
August 5, 2005
A federal court of appeals has ruled that the Bush administration broke the law when it tried to drastically increase logging in the Tongass National Forest by using faulty, exaggerated numbers to justify its plans. Although the bustling tourism industry in the area depends on the wilderness quality of the forest, the Forest Service admitted to doubling the estimated timber demand, a move which allowed it to open roadless areas to logging. The administration also confirmed that nearly half of the Tongass timber that went to market in during a six-year period ending 2004 never sold. Unfortunately, this example is part of a larger administration pattern of trying to undermine the roadless area system and open more wilderness areas to intensive logging. The court’s decision stops expanded logging in the forest’s roadless wilderness areas unless the administration submits a new management plan that is based on the true demands and costs of increased logging in the region. Sierra Club was represented in the case by Earthjustice.
October 2, 2004
Responding to an emergency request from the Sierra Club and its allies, today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked logging and road construction in parts of the Tongass National Forest, including 9.5 square miles of never before logged old-growth trees. The decision immediately stops 380 acres of planned logging, on the grounds that "The road-building activities will cause an immediate and irreparable change to the part of the now-roadless old-growth forest."
The lawsuit, part of a coalition effort, was originally filed in response to a Bush administration misrepresentation of the local demand for Tongass timber. Although the Bush administration has admitted that it exaggerated the needed logging levels, it still remains determined to open roadless areas of the forest to unnecessary logging. The Court's decision will remain in effect until a final decision on the matter; oral argument is scheduled for February, 2005.
Details and Documents:
Alaska Logging Rules Rejected by Court
August 8, 2005, by Brendan Coyne The New Standard
Court blocks logging plan for Alaskan forest
August 7, 2005, Chicago Tribune
Logging Plan in Alaska Forest Overturned on Appeal
Judges criticize federal assessments of demand for Tongass timber and the impact on wildlife
August 6, 2005, by Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
Court: Tongass log plan flawed
August 6, 2005, by Paula Dobbyn Anchorage Daily News
Appeals court strikes down logging plan for Alaska's Tongass
August 5, 2005, by Bettina Boxall, Seattle Times
9th Circuit blocks Tongass road construction
October 19, 2004 by Dan Joling, Associated Press Writer
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, August 5, 2005 (PDF)
District Court of Alaska, October 18, 2004 (226k PDF)
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.