Obama Administration: Approves Alaska Timber Sale in Roadless National Forest

July 16, 2009

(ChattahBox)—In a first for the Obama administration, the sale of Orion North timber in a roadless area of the Tongass National Forest was approved by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Environmental activists support the continuation of the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, and are disappointed in the administration’s decision to allow road construction and timber cutting on the unspoiled Revillagigedo Island.

The sale of timber was awarded to a Ketchikan mill, Pacific Log and Lumber, for the rights to clear-cut 4.4 million board-feet of timber, with the option to cut an additional 2.4 million board-feet.

Contractors have already built about a mile of the 6.9 miles of roads that will be needed for the clear-cutting. A total of 381-acres of the Tongass National Forest would be affected by the sale.

When President Obama took office, he implemented a review of the Roadless rule, which prohibits road building on about 58 million acres of virgin national forest lands. And Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack proposed a plan to personally review all timber sales in roadless areas.

Although Obama supported the Roadless rule during his campaign, he appears to be migrating towards a policy of reviewing timber sales in roadless areas on a case-by-case basis.

Alaska’s U.S. senators, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich support Obama’s approach. “…I am heartened that the secretary has recognized the importance of maintaining an environmentally sound timber industry in Southeast Alaska,” said Murkowski.

In this instance it seems, the sale was approved to provide much needed jobs to out of work loggers during a recession. Still, we find this decision disappointing and disturbing.



One Response to “Obama Administration: Approves Alaska Timber Sale in Roadless National Forest”

  1. Alaska: Obama admin approves roadless logging project in Tongass National Forest on July 17th, 2009 3:11 am

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