Cantwell Blasts Trump Administration Plan to Log Old-Growth Timber in Tongass National Forest

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released a statement following press reports that the Trump administration plans to eliminate long-standing protections from roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska:

“Instead of preserving vital salmon habitat and Southeast Alaska’s $2 billion commercial fishing and tourism economy, the Trump administration is trying to double down on decades of taxpayer-subsidized old-growth logging in one of our nation’s few remaining pristine natural areas. Like the Amazon, the Tongass is America’s lungs, absorbing around eight percent of our yearly global warming pollution. We should listen to the recommendations of the local people and the needs of the entire planet and permanently protect the Tongass for future generations.” 

Senator Cantwell has long been the leading Senate champion to protect the 2001 Roadless Rule, which limits costly roadbuilding and destructive logging on roadless landscapes across the National Forest System. The rule helps protect hunting and fishing opportunities, provide critical habitat for 1,600 threatened or endangered species, lessen wildland fire risk, and supply clean drinking water to millions of Americans in 39 states and more than 350 communities across the United States.

In May 2019, Cantwell reintroduced her legislation to codify the 2001 Rule into law along with Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee; Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee; and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining.

On July 11, 2019, Senator Cantwell led a bicameral letter to Agriculture Secretary Purdue expressing concerns over the rulemaking process, the lack of adequate consultation with local stakeholders, and urging the Department to schedule additional scoping meetings in other areas of the country, like Seattle.