Calling it a “cookie-cutter” approach that is “stifling the Southeast Alaska economy,” Alaska’s two senators are co-sponsoring legislation to repeal the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
The Tongass National Forest for a time was exempt from the rule, but a 2011 federal court ruling threw out that exemption.
In a recent news release, Alaska’s Democratic Sen. Mark Begich says that Southeast Alaska needs options to strengthen the region’s economy through resource development. That includes potential mining projects on Prince of Wales Island, and timber sales.
The Roadless Rule prohibits new roads and timber harvest in inventoried roadless areas of national forests, including Alaska’s Tongass and Chugach forests. There are limited exceptions to the rule.
Earlier this year, Alaska’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a different bill that would allow roads specifically for the two proposed Prince of Wales mines.