President Joe Biden’s Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that it has finalized rules to reverse the 2020 Alaska Roadless Rule enacted under the administration of former President Donald Trump to allow development in 9.73 million acres of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.
“As our nation’s largest national forest and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass National Forest is key to conserving biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release Wednesday. “Restoring roadless protections listens to the voices of Tribal Nations and the people of Southeast Alaska while recognizing the importance of fishing and tourism to the region’s economy.”
The move, which is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, reverses the 2020 “state-specific” regulation that allowed for construction and reconstruction of roads, and permit timber harvesting on about 55% of the 16.8 million acres of preserve to benefit Alaska’s economic development, according to the 2020 rule.
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