November 08, 2005
The Emerald Bay project includes the construction of approximately 6 miles of new low-impact road within the Cleveland Inventoried Roadless Area. About 2 miles of the road construction would occur in a medium old-growth reserve along with the construction of a new log transfer facility. After harvest, the entire road and transfer facility would be put in storage and allowed to re-vegetate. The project would affect less than 2 percent of the Cleveland Inventoried Roadless Area's 191,477 acres.
"The project is part of our ongoing effort to actively and properly manage the Tongass National Forest using a balanced approach," said Cole. "This type of project can boost the economic health of communities by helping local, family-run businesses keep operating and create jobs."
According to the Forest Service, the Emerald Bay project could generate nearly 90 local jobs for the life of the project.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision issued in August concerning the Tongass National Forest Plan does not restrict the Emerald Bay project. That decision addressed some procedural shortfalls primarily associated with timber demand projections.
"It would be irresponsible for us not to continue providing raw materials to help locally-owned businesses within Southeast Alaska," said Cole. "We are currently considering an adjustment to the Forest Plan, but cannot stop projects that are in progress during the interim period."
In accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations, the Emerald Bay decision is subject to appeal. Appeals must be filed within 45 days of the date that legal notice of this decision is published, tentatively planned for November, 21, 2006.
Notice of Appeals must be filed with the Regional Forester, Alaska Region, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, P.O. Box 21628, Juneau, Alaska 99802-1628.
Copies of the Emerald Bay Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision are available for review at Forest Service offices throughout the Tongass.
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