Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Forest Service released a final environmental impact statement that will lift protections, provided by the 2001 roadless rule, for 9.2 million acres of the Tongass National Forest. Roadless areas in the Tongass include roughly 6.3 million acres of old-growth temperate rainforest—which store and sequester millions of tons of carbon each year—and spawning streams for salmon that support commercial fishing and tourism in the region. In response, Ryan Richards, senior policy analyst for Public Lands at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
President Donald Trump continues to cement his legacy as the most anti-nature president in U.S. history. Stripping protections from the Tongass National Forest is a shortsighted move that favors clear-cut logging—an industry that is not economically viable in southeast Alaska. Rather than logging one of the best and biggest carbon reserves in the nation, we should be conserving this special place and boosting the job-creating industries, such as fishing and tourism, that it supports.
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