In a plan based on faulty science, the Forest Service sought to clear-cut nearly two thousand acres of irreplaceable old-growth forests, threatening countless species including rare Alexander Archipelago wolves and their primary prey, Sitka black-tailed deer, which is the most important subsistence species in Southeast Alaska. The Ninth Circuit voided the Forest Service’s plan on account of numerous violations of federal environmental law.
At issue in the case was how the Forest Service measured winter habitat for deer. Deer habitat can reach a tipping point when too much old-growth forest is logged. At that point, any further loss of habitat can have dramatic consequences for local deer populations, in turn causing cascading impacts to wolves and subsistence hunters.
The Forest Service tried to model the amount of deer winter habitat both before and after logging, but its model was deeply flawed. If modeled correctly, the logging areas fail to provide sufficient deer habitat even before logging begins, which is out-of-step with the Forest Service own management plan.
Over the course of the litigation, courts gave the Forest Service two opportunities to fix its modeling errors, but each time the agency refused to rely on the best available science. The Ninth Circuit finally said, “three strikes and you’re out.”
For years, Crag has represented local and regional organizations to protect the imperiled forests of the Tongass from clear-cut logging. Victories like this one go a long way in protecting the nation’s last swath of contiguous old-growth temperate rainforest.
As one of thousands of impacted rural residents of the Tongass, I (we) cannot begin to express our sincere gratitude to Oliver and Chris for representing the best interests of all present and future generations of Americans and especially Southeast Alaskan residents.
What remains of Tongass Old Growth is well recognized as world-class carbon repositories, carbon sinks, and other essential ecosystem services far more valuable than paltry one-time corporate commodities on Chinese-bound timber freighters.
This victory vindicates our struggle against an agency which has been in a full-fledged state of corporate capture for several decades, aided and abetted by Alaska’s Delegations of the last two decades.
This victory vindicates all the thousands of defenders of the Roadless Rule already on public record advocating the Roadless Rule remaining intact on the Tongass.
This occurs, even as “CONservation” representatives of the The Nature Conservancy and Sitka Conservation Council ignore hundreds of scientists’ warnings, while lending legitimacy to the Kangaroo Court “collaborating” as members of the Citizen Advisory Committee to assure “a sustainable timber industry (is) kept alive” by exempting the Roadless Rule from the Tongass.
As we all know, the phrase, “sustainable timber industry” has been so misused and abused by collaborative conservation sell-outs across the country in sycophancy with industry, agency, and politicians alike, as to be a catch-phrase long since eviscerated of any meaning.
Cut, the conservation collaborateurs most assuredly have and will, because that’s what they’re paid to do, and their bloody fingerprints will be on the knives attempting to eviscerate the Roadless Rule and many legal protections on public forests in Southeast Alaska and the entire national forest system.
And they do this as paid “conservation” reps — even while on the undeniable brink of climate catastrophe?
Shame on the shammers of “CONservation.”
Congratulations to all. Keep up the good work and keep the Tongass Roadless!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. And thank the Ninth Circuit Court for doing the right thing.
I am humbled by the work Crag does to help advocacy groups to grip the shins of the agencies charged with protecting our natural resources and hold their feet to the FIRE! SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS! Thank you so much for your GREAT WORK on all of our behalf. CRAG ROCKS!