Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Logging Challenged in Tongass Forest

ANCHORAGE (CN) - The U.S. Forest Service is trampling environmental law and hurting protected species by allowing logging in old-growth forest and road-building in the Tongass National Forest and Prince of Wales Island, environmentalists say in Federal Court.

The Tongass Conservation Society, Greenpeace and Cascadia Wildlands challenge "the logging of 3,422 acres of the remaining predominantly old-growth forest in the project area ... [and] the construction of 5 miles of permanent Forest Service roads and 17 miles of 'temporary' roads, which will be added to the over 125 miles of road that already exist in the project area."

The groups claim the project violates the Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan and will hurt the protected Sitka black-tailed deer and Alexander Archipelago wolves.

"Additionally, the Forest Service also failed to take a 'hard look' at the direct and indirect impacts to the streams and aquatic species such as salmon, as well as the cumulative impacts to aquatic habitat in light of the past, present, and reasonably foreseeable activities occurring in the area of the Logjam project. Nor has the Forest Service complied with the requirements of the 2008 TLMP for maintaining roads, ensuring fish passage, and using best management practices when building and maintaining roads and culverts," according to the complaint.

The groups want the so-called Logjam Project enjoined until the Forest Service complies with the laws and its own regulations. They are represented by Christopher Winter with the Crag Law Center of Portland, Ore.

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