WASHINGTON — The Biden The administration declared Wednesday that they have banned the logging and construction of roads on approximately nine million acres. Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska, aiming to settle a two-decade battle over the fate of North America’s largest temperate rainforest.

Protections are now restored by the new rule in The pristine Alaskan backcountry that was first imposed in 2001, but removed by President Donald J. Trump in 2020.

Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, said the effort would protect cedar, hemlock and Sitka spruce trees — many of them more than 800 years old — that provide essential habitats for 400 species of wildlife, including bald eagles, salmon and the world’s greatest concentration of black bears. These towering trees play an important role. in Combating climate change These forests store over 10 percent of all carbon that is accumulated in national forests in According to the government, the United States.

In addition to prohibiting road construction — a first step toward new logging — the United States Forest Service plan also puts an end to large scale logging of old growth timber across the forest’s entire 16 million acres.

“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,” Vilsack stated in Make a statement. The restoration of road prohibitions “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,” He stated.

Tongass National ForestThe name of the sand was “America’s Amazon,” It is also the home of rare earth minerals. This makes it an area of great interest for state and local leaders, who believe it should be mined in order to create employment and boost economic growth. Alaska’s economy.

Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan called it the rule “overly-burdensome,” The accused Biden administration of harming his state’s economy and said he would retaliate by blocking the president’s nominees.

“I’ve implored Secretary Vilsack repeatedly to work with us and to not lock up our state,” Mr. Sullivan stated in A statement. “My message to hard-working Alaskans who are being crushed and utterly disregarded by this administration: I will fight this decision with everything in my power, including through my Senate oversight responsibilities and by holding relevant nominees wherever possible.”

The state’s Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, said in A declaration that the final rules are applicable “is a huge loss for Alaskans” And the accused Biden Administration of unfair treatment to his state. “Alaskans deserve access to the resources that the Tongass provides — jobs, renewable energy resources and tourism, not a government plan that treats human beings within a working forest like an invasive species,” He wrote.

Jim Clark is an Attorney in Juneau, who works with state and industry officials to maintain Tongass Exempted from protections which apply to most of the National Forest System, has been argued to Biden The administration believes that some road construction has important economic benefits and does not harm the environment. He pointed out that West Virginia is approximately the same size as the national forest and has the capacity to house what he describes as a very limited infrastructure.

The United States Geological Survey discovered 148 minerals in 2008 in It is a very diverse region. The leaders of state have suggested that a new survey be conducted before any restrictions are placed to make sure that both the government as well as the public understand the potential economic loss.

There are many opportunities for employment in the wood industry. in Southeast Alaska close to the Tongass National Forest It has fallen from 3,543 in 1991 312 in 2022 — the lowest timber employment level ever recorded — according to the Southeast Conference, the regional economic development organization.

According to timber executives, years of Democratic restrictions have driven lumber companies from the area.

Tessa Axelson is the executive director for Alaska Forest Association which represents wood companies in According to the industry, Southeast Alaska is “disappointed but not surprised” The rule. “Our local economies cannot survive without the investments of small businesses like those in the forest products industry. This announcement further threatens an already precarious environment for our operators,” She said.

The issue of the election has been a source of contention between Republicans and Democrats. Tongass Since decades, environmentalists, Native Americans, and Democrats have fought to save the forests while Republicans, timber corporations, and mining executives supported its development.

This is the most recent decision in A series of Biden Trump’s actions to facilitate fossil fuel extraction and development on public lands were reversed by the Trump administration. The last month saw the Biden The Trump administration attempted to end protections for rivers, marshes, and waterways. Also, the White House issued new guidelines for how to assess greenhouse gas emissions in Federal environmental reviews replace the guidelines that were withdrawn by Donald Trump.

The applause was received by conservationists as well as several Alaskan indigenous groups. Tongass decision. Their argument is that the construction of roads could destroy vast wildernesses with snowy peaks and rushing streams, as well as virgin old-growth forest.

“This is great news for the forest, the salmon, the wildlife, and the people who depend on intact ecosystems to support their ways of life and livelihoods,” Kate Glover (an attorney for Earthjustice), an environmental organization, stated in A statement.

Forest According to Service representatives, the agency had received around 112,000 comments from tribal communities and other affected areas. The majority of these comments wanted the ban on roads. in The forest.

However Tongass National Forest About 9 percent represents the total lands in It has 16 percent of all forest land that is not accessible by roads. These forests are mostly old-growth.

Dominick DellaSala is a conservation biologist, who studied TongassIt is also known as “remarkable” and noted that most of the nation’s old growth trees in It was decades ago that the lower 48 States were logged.

TongassHe stated that he was adamant about the truth of it all. “a place where eagles are as abundant as house sparrows, salmon clog streams like rush-hour traffic and wolves feed on salmon carcasses.” He stated that they had all species. “do best in unlogged forests.”

This plan now includes $25 Million in federal spending on local sustainable development in Alaska for projects that improve forest health.