Forest Service seeks comment, announces public meetings on Alaska Roadless Rule
August 30, 2018
Members of the public have until Oct. 15, 2018 to comment on the Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. Instructions about how to comment are available online (Click here).
The Forest Service plans to host informational public meetings in Alaska and Washington D.C. in late September and early October.
The first meeting is scheduled to take place in Juneau on Thursday, September 13, 2018. The next scheduled meeting is Monday, September 17, 2018 in Ketchikan and another in Hoonah. The meeting is scheduled to begin in Ketchikan at 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center located at 50 Main Street. Meetings will also be held in Craig, Angoon, Point Baker/Port Protection, Wrangell, Petersburg, Kake, and Anchorage. The full list of meetings, with dates, times and locations can be accessed online. Click here (PDF)
The State of Alaska, as a cooperating agency, will be hosting separate meetings to engage with the public.
“We are coordinating with the State of Alaska to develop an Alaska Roadless Rule that is responsive to the communities, businesses, and people who rely on the Tongass National Forest,” said Tongass Supervisor Earl Stewart. “By working together, we can ensure that this rule helps provide more economic opportunity for Alaskans while sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the Tongass National Forest.”
On June 1, 2018, the Secretary of Agriculture committed the Forest Service to develop a state-specific rule that establishes management direction for roadless area conservation within the Tongass National Forest. In conducting the rulemaking process, USDA is responding to the State of Alaska’s petition requesting an exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the current standing national 2001 Roadless Rule.
An Alaska Roadless Rule would replace the 2001 Roadless Rule, which prohibits with some exception road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting on certain National Forest System lands across the country.
Secretary Perdue aims to sign a final Alaska Roadless Rule within the next 18 months. The preparation process will involve National Environmental Policy Act environmental review and disclosures, gathering public feedback, conducting public outreach, and consultation with Alaskan Tribes and Native Corporations.
A notice of intent to prepare an EIS for the rulemaking is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register later this summer.
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Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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