Federal Judge Reinstates Roadless Rule Protections for Alaska's Tongass National Forest
May 24, 2011
On May 24, a federal judge finalized a decision that will return protections for millions of acres of the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska. The ruling reinstates the Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 60 million acres of undeveloped backcountry throughout the national forest system. The decision culminates over a year of litigation, in which Sierra Club and its allies fought to overturn the Bush Administration’s decision to exempt the Tongass from the roadless rule, and represents a huge victory for Alaska’s wildlife, forests, and communities.
March 7, 2011
Sierra Club, as part of a broad coalition of environmental groups, is celebrating the decision by a federal district judge to reinstate roadless rule protections for the Tongass National Forest, America’s great temperate rainforest. The ruling overturns an exemption that removed the entire national forest from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule exists to protect national forests from destructive energy development, logging and road building.
In December 2009, Sierra Club and its allies challenged the Bush Administration’s 2003 decision to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the national Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 60 million acres of undeveloped backcountry throughout the national forest system. Stretching for more than 500 miles along the coast of Alaska, the Tongass includes islands, peninsulas, and fjords laced with small springs, streams, and rivers that provide important habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. The court’s ruling reinstates protections needed to maintain healthy populations of wolves, bears, marten, and Pacific salmon, among other species. In addition, the ruling supports jobs in the tourism and fishing industries without causing job losses in the timber industry or other economic sectors. Currently, the Forest Service doesn’t have any plans to proceed with roadless area timber sales, and is transitioning away from old growth logging in the Tongass. Nevertheless, the decision is extremely important to secure this transition and protect against any future destruction.
The plaintiffs, represented by Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, include Sierra Club, the Organized Village of Kake, Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association, The Boat Company, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Tongass Conservation Society, Greenpeace, Wrangell Resource Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and Cascadia Wildlands.
Details and Documents:
Federal Court Ruling Protects Alaska's Tongass National Forest
March 7, 2011 , Sierra Club Press Release
Federal Judge Reinstates Roadless Rule Protections for Tongass National Forest in SE Alaska
March 7, 2011, Earthjustice Press Release
U.S. District Judge Sedwick's Opinion and Order
March 4, 2011, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska
Court issues final judgement for roadless rule on Tongass
by Matt Lichtenstein, National Public Radio
Judge reinstates 'roadless rule' for Tongass
March 7, 2011 by Lawrence Hurley, E&E News
Sometimes the Good Guys Win -- But Slowly
March 6, 2011 by Carl Pope, Chairman, Sierra Club, posted in The Huffington Post
Federal judge reinstates roadless rule in Tongass
March 6, 2011, The Associated Press
Judge imposes 'roadless rule' on the Tongass
March 6, 2011 by Ed Schoenfeld, KCAW-FM
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.