News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senate Majority Press
For Immediate Release: October 15, 2019

Alaska Senators Praise Proposed Roadless Rule Exemption

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JUNEAU – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is seeking public comment on a draft environmental impact statement offering alternatives to roadless management and a proposed Alaska Roadless Rule. The proposal would provide access to the Tongass National Forest for development by exempting it from the 2001 Roadless Rule.

In response, members of the Alaska Senate Majority released the following statements.

“This is good news,” said Senator Bert Stedman, R-Southeast Islands. “We’ve been challenged for years dealing with the forest service and getting our right of ways for road connections. This will be beneficial to extend the life of the timber industry until second growth timber is economically viable to harvest.”

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage. “Opening our state’s vast resources to responsible development will improve the lives of Alaskans through family-supporting, good-paying jobs. I am also confident our state’s world-class regulatory structure will effectively protect our environment and continue to deliver positive results for our land and people.”

“Alaskans have a proven track record of taking care of our environment, while also being productive,” said Senator John Coghill, R-North Pole. “With access to the land, we could have a more productive timber industry and help the environment by reducing carbon output. Young trees are better at sequestering carbon than old ones.”

“I appreciate the U.S. Forest Service's willingness to open up public comment on the roadless rule in the Tongass National Forest,” said Senator Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks. “As a kid growing up in Ketchikan and Wrangell, I saw the benefits of a healthy timber industry to Southeast Alaska, and it would be nice to get back to that and get back to developing more of our renewable resources for the benefit of Alaskans.”

For more information, contact Senate Majority Communications Director Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

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