Local News

State investigating SEACC complaints against USFS

The State Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating allegations by the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council that the U.S. Forest Service misrepresented or left out information from an application to store logs from the Tonka Timber Sale in Alexander Bay, located in Wrangell Narrows.

On October 5th, SEACC submitted a request that the state Department of Environmental Conservation terminate the log-storage permit. The letter claims that the Forest Service misrepresented the cost of barging logs rather than storing them. SEACC states that the Forest Service claims the cost would be double, but a Forest Service estimate shows it would cost only about 5 percent more.

SEACC also alleges that the permit application incorrectly cites the lack of upland storage space as a reason for storing the logs in the water. However, the letter states that the Tonka Timber Sale project includes a stipulation that the successful bidder develop an uplands sort yard.

SEACC cites the importance of Alexander Bay for commercial crab fishing, and says that storing logs in that area would negatively affect the ecosystem.

In a Nov. 19th letter to Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole, the state Department of Environmental Conservation asks for a response to SEACC’s allegations. A written response is due Dec. 19th.

A telephone call to the Tongass National Forest Supervisor’s office was not returned by deadline Thursday.

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