Two More Groups Join Lawsuit to Exclude Alaska from ‘Roadless Rule’

Two resource development groups have filed to join a lawsuit that would exclude Alaska national forests from the roadless rule.

The Southeast Conference and the Alaska Forest Association are supporting a state suit against the U.S. Forest Service. It seeks to overturn a recent court decision imposing the nationwide rule on Southeast’s Tongass and Southcentral’s Chugach National Forests.

Shelly Wright is executive director of the Southeast Conference, an organization of regional government and business leaders.

The rule limits logging and other activity on roadless parts of national forests. A federal District Court ruling earlier this year applied it to Alaska, which had been exempt.

That judgment included a list of hydropower, mining and other projects that could move forward in roadless areas of the Tongass.

Wright says that’s not enough.

The Parnell administration appealed the roadless rule decision in June. It also sued, claiming the rule violated several federal laws, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, known as ANILCA.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell.

He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues.

He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.

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