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environment politics

Clear-cutting Tongass National Forest is a crime

He’s doing that while the Obama administration takes some time to review the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which banned road-building on about 58 million acres of national forest land nationwide but has been challenged since it was issued. Pacific Log and Lumber, the Ketchikan mill, won the contract to clear-cut 4.4 million board-feet of timber – a relatively small sale – with the option of cutting another 2.4 million board-feet if it’s economical.

Quite disappointed that the Obama administration gave the green-light to Orion North. If Bush was president, I’d understand, but expected better from Obama. When a forest is gone, it doesn’t come back.

Tongass National Forest Alaska
[Tongass National Forest Alaska]

The U.S. Forest Service agreed Monday to sell timber to a Ketchikan mill in a roadless area of the Tongass National Forest after the Obama administration’s approved the sale.

Orion North timber sale is the first such awarded since Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in May he would personally review all timber sales in roadless areas of national forests in the next year.

He’s doing that while the Obama administration takes some time to review the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which banned road-building on about 58 million acres of national forest land nationwide but has been challenged since it was issued.

Pacific Log and Lumber, the Ketchikan mill, won the contract to clear-cut 4.4 million board-feet of timber – a relatively small sale – with the option of cutting another 2.4 million board-feet if it’s economical. The Ketchikan-area sale is on Revillagigedo Island in an area that borders Misty Fjords National Monument.

“Just building the road will cost four times as much revenue as the Forest Service is going to get from the timber sale,” said [Tom] Waldo of Earthjustice.

[Click to continue reading Ketchikan mill is awarded Orion North timber – Juneau Empire]

Rain Forest Path - Alaska
[Rain Forest Path, Tongass National Forest]

I’ve briefly been inside the Tongass National Forest, and it is a beautiful, almost magical place. The logging industry should grow their own damn trees on land they own, and stop mooching off of National Forests.

Federal Building 1936
[Federal Building, Ketchikan]

Tongass National Forest Alaska
[Tongass National Forest]

The logging industry depends upon corporate welfare for their profits, and it isn’t viable anymore. Either they need to change their business model, or go bankrupt, and let more forward-thinking companies take their place.

American taxpayers have not only watched as the Tongass has been picked apart by road building and logging, they’ve paid for the privilege. The tab extends beyond $750 million over 20 years. In a single year alone, the Forest Service spent $36 million on the Tongass timber program and got back in revenues only $1 million. Subsidies for logging roads account for nearly half of timber program costs annually.

[Click to continue reading The Wilderness Society]

$36,000,000 on hand-outs, receiving $1,000,000 back. Not good, not good at all.

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