Governor Sean Parnell and Attorney General Michael Geraghty were pleased to learn the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Rule.
"This is a huge victory for Alaskans and their families who depend on economic development in the Tongass," Governor Parnell said. "Although this rule has already done irreparable harm to the timber industry and small communities in Southeast Alaska, this win will allow Alaskans to start building the industry back up. I will continue to aggressively stand up when federal agencies tread on Alaskans' rights and Congress does not act."
The 9th Circuit today issued an opinion reversing the District Court's 2011 decision that invalidated the Tongass exemption from the Roadless Rule. The court held the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave valid reasons for exempting the Tongass, including the changes in economic predictions and the high socioeconomic costs in Alaska. The 9th Circuit did remand the case to the District Court for further consideration to determine whether a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act is required.