Reps. Gallego and DeGette Lead 74 Representatives in Letter Opposing Administration Plan to Strip Protections from Tongass National Forest
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) led over 70 of their colleagues in submitting official comments yesterday in opposition to the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to exempt Tongass National Forest in Alaska from protections under the Roadless Rule.
The letter urges Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue not to proceed with his Department’s proposal to open up our nation’s largest National Forest – and one of our most critical tools in the fight against climate change – to clear-cut logging and road-building. The letter outlines the way in which a Tongass Roadless Rule exemption would damage the environment and local wildlife, harm local recreation and commercial fishing industries, reduce access to clean air and water, and threaten the livelihood and culture of Alaska Natives who call Alaska Roadless Areas home.
“The Roadless Rule is one of our national forests’ most important and successful protections, particularly in ancient and unique places like the Tongass,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “This administration’s reckless proposal to remove Roadless Rule protections and allow destructive roadbuilding throughout Alaska’s majestic Tongass National Forest is bad for our environment, bad for taxpayers, bad for Alaska Natives, and bad for future generations of Americans who deserve the chance to visit and appreciate this beautiful, pristine place.”
“The Roadless Rule protects nearly 60 million acres of national forest land for people to enjoy,” said Rep. Diana DeGette. “We are not going to sit back and allow the Trump administration to undo the vital protections this rule provides some of our nation’s most treasured landscapes, including the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.”
Reps. Gallego and DeGette introduced the Roadless Area Conservation Act earlier this year to codify the Roadless Rule and permanently protect millions of acres of pristine national forests.
Rep. Gallego had an op-ed published yesterday about the importance of keeping Roadless Rule protections in Tongass National Forest.