Tree hugger pic

President Joe Biden’s administration announced, July 15, that it will ban all large-scale old growth timber sales in the Tongass National Forest in order to address climate change concerns. The plan includes reinstating the 2001 Roadless Rule in the 9.2 million acres of the Tongass.

Rather than allowing Alaskan loggers to harvest this renewable resource, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it will work with environmentalist groups and others to focus on forest restoration, recreational activity, climate concerns and wildlife habitat.

The move is a stark reversal of former President Donald Trump’s approach. Last October, Trump exempted portions of the Tongass from the Clinton-era roadless rule which had hindered industry and lead to job losses in Alaska.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a July 15 statement saying Biden’s actions will fill Alaska’s unemployment lines and wipe out small businesses.

“The Forest Service has already conducted a thorough analysis and determined that an Alaska-specific exemption from a one-size-fits-all roadless rule was fully justified,” Dunleavy said of Trump’s actions last year. “Narrow election results and political donations from environmental groups do not justify this federal agency’s policy flip-flop.”

The governor said Alaska’s Southeast communities deserve the chance to work.

“We have the resources,” he said. “We just need the opportunity.” 

USDA will only permit limited “micro-old-growth sales” for community consumption and cultural uses such as totem poles, canoes and tribal art.

Alaska’s Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige said the Tongass National Forest was “created to serve multiple uses, including a sustainable timber industry.”

“Arbitrary reimposition of a roadless rule will deprive Southeast Alaska communities of a diversified economy that includes working forests as well as tourism and fishing,” Feige said.

Under Biden’s plan, the USDA will only permit limited “micro-old-growth sales” for community consumption and cultural uses such as totem poles, canoes and tribal art.

In justifying its actions, the USDA said its decisions are “in line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s approach to climate-smart forest management,” and “climate-resilient forests that provide ecologic, social and economic benefits and support rural community well-being.”

The July 15 announcement added that the USDA “touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways.” It concludes by proclaiming that the federal agency will fundamentally transform America’s agricultural landscape through federal funding for clean energy projects and farmer’s markets, while being committed to “equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.”

Specifically, for Tongass, the USDA will work with Alaska Native groups and other partners to dole out $25 million in federal spending for various projects, including global climate change initiatives.

The new strategy is coined “The Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy.” It entails federal collaboration with local environmentalist groups, tribal entities and the U.S. Forest Service.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said he looks forward to “meaningful consultation” over the next 30 days.

Dunleavy said he is willing to collaborate, but not to the detriment of Alaskans.

“Let me be clear, where the State of Alaska can partner with the federal government on efforts that make the lives of Alaskans better, Washington D.C. will not find a more willing partner,” he said. “But where there will be disagreement, my administration will make the feeling of this state known.”

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State blasts Biden’s ’arbitrary’ move to block Alaska logging jobs

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Michael S Totten says:

    Climate change concerns= lets shut down all US production so our foreign buddies can sell you their crap because we’re invested in those. Companies

  • Sharon Turner says: every ‘well meaning/unaware ‘old school’ Democrat: You voted for Totalitarian, Marxism. Welcome to your own self made Gulag” Like Churchill is quoted. “Shared misery”. Main problem today as was in USSR, etc. ? The elite* always expect and force you and me to do all the suffering!. Grandma

  • Jen says:

    I listened to a CSPAN show last year where an Oregan Democrat Senator spoke about the California and Oregan forest fires that ravaged the west coast was because of improper forest management not enough tree cutting to thin out the forest of its national parks.

  • Ben O says:

    “Dunleavy said he is willing to collaborate, but not to the detriment of Alaskans.
    “Let me be clear, where the State of Alaska can partner with the federal government . .”
    Dunleavy is incompetent. The federal government has no authority/jurisdiction over Alaska’s resources. Lumber, fish, minerals, whatever. The big question is when will Alaskans eject the federal criminals from our state?

  • Roberta Burtness says:

    One can see how the “management” of the national forests was so “successful” by the intense forest fires that have burned in Washington, Oregon, California and many other states. Not to mention the fact this takes away jobs for Alaskans and severely affects our economy etc…

    • G Aleution says:

      On purpose, USA corporation declared bankrupt. Bankruptcy means assets for sale. Much of what we believed was ours is being sold. God is still over all. He cares about the country who welcomed His believers through generations. Stock up on food.