In an effort to reopen the Tongass National Forest to responsible development, Alaska filed a legal complaint in U.S. District Court to challenge the Biden Administration’s repeal of the 2020 Alaska Roadless Rule.

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service issued a final decision that formally reinstated the old 2001 roadless rule in the Tongass National Forest, which effectively prohibits timber harvest and road construction within designated Inventoried Roadless Areas – a region that covers 9.3 million acres.

The state’s complaint aims to protect the economic and socioeconomic development of Southeast Alaska by having the 2020 rule reinstated as soon as possible.

“Alaskans deserve access to the resources that the Tongass provides – jobs, renewable energy resources, and tourism, not a government plan that treats human beings within a working forest like an invasive species,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “That’s why we’re challenging the decision with this complaint.”

“The State has repeatedly obtained a favorable outcome only to have it wrenched away again, with the State and its citizens paying the price.”

AK Attorney General Treg Taylor

The state maintains that 2001 rules are unnecessary due to the fact that “numerous environmental safeguards currently ensure that economic survival is balanced with wise conservation practices and resource protection.”

With nearly 17 million acres, Tongass is the largest forest in the United States. More than 71,000 Alaska residents and the capital city of Juneau are surrounded by it.

“The State of Alaska will continue this long-running fight to unburden the Tongass National Forest from the constraints of the Roadless Rule and to protect the economic and socioeconomic development of Southeast Alaska,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. “The Tongass National Forest has robust environmental protections in place, and the Roadless Rule is both unnecessary and continues to cripple to the future of Alaskan communities.”

The 2020 Alaska Roadless Rule was adopted by the USDA during the Trump administration after lengthy consideration and public comment. Biden’s administration nixed the 2020 rule without any new analysis or evaluation. The state claims the USDA failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its sudden change in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

The state further maintains that reinstating the 2001 rule violates unique Alaska and Tongass-specific statutory provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the Tongass Timber Reform Act based on a “flawed and biased decision-making process.”

“The State has repeatedly obtained a favorable outcome only to have it wrenched away again, with the State and its citizens paying the price,” Attorney General Taylor said. “The Biden administration has unlawfully imposed near-absolute preservation across forest lands meant to provide access and accommodate responsible development. The State seeks to obtain a final and enduring win with this litigation, in what it hopes to be the final chapter of this long-running saga.”

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

Alaska files challenge to Biden’s ‘unlawful’ lockdown on Tongass National Forest

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.


  • Bruce Probert says:

    There needs to be consequences for violating due process. Officials who knowingly take valuable permits and leases without eminent domain proceeding or payment in full for the loss incurred should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law…

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    As quoted from dunleavy’s own mouth “ when Biden comes here on 9/11 we’re going to have a robust conversation “! Oh how believable does this twerp think he is! Let’s see he had an opportunity for one of those robust conversations with: Kathy Geisel, Ethan berhisbut, Jarrett Bryant, or how about the fraud and bottle washer Kevin Myer, maybe his fear has forced his avoidance of these characters. This begs the question who is he willing to confide in and have that robust conversation with? Perhaps his rich brother Francis, or the petolas, or maybe murky murkowski. Why them? Carbon copy credits! Money money money! One last friendly Acquaintance of dunleavy is Mike pacarro the radio talk show goon ! RCV comes directly from his advertising agency that was paid by murky murkowski to get it passed! This same paccaro has been given a third job to do by dunleavy. He is 75 years old. Zero experience in the fishing industry. That’s enough for dunleavy to appoint him to a 136k$ job paid for by you and I . These robust conversations are costing us one hell of a lot of money!
    Pretty soon this baffoon will come out and announce the amount of our PFD! “I tried real hard, but at least I’m not charging you for your c19 update “!

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Let’s go Brandon

  • Lucinda says:

    The State, i.e. Dunleavy, confuses ideology with the law. Think Treg Taylor.

  • Chuck Anziulewicz says:

    The Tongass is the nation’s largest national forest and covers most of southeast Alaska, surrounding the famous Inside Passage and offers unique chances to view eagles, bears, spawning salmon, and the breath-taking vistas of “wild” Alaska. I would think everyone would want to preserve it, rather than allowing huge swaths to be chopped down. Same goes for the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. In September 2019, the Trump administration said they would like to see the entire coastal plain opened for gas and oil, the most aggressive of the suggested development options. The Biden administration simply reversed that. There’s a reason WHY they call it as “wildlife refuge.”

    • Clark says:

      Yeah Chuck. It’s literally designated as a National forest. That means the federal government gets to decide how to preserve it. It’s a pretty simple problem. The rules have been in place for what? 20 years? Trump went on a tear to destroy any and all regulations he could. None of his decisions were in Alaskas best interests. Biden simply reversed the change, and that is well within their authority.

      • Lobo says:

        You are welcome to provide specifics as to the allegations regarding Trump.. But, if you would like to research the U.S. constitution, and U.S Code(s), you may find that the federal government does not legally have the authorities to which you refer. Once a state has officially become a state of the union, the federal government is “required” to release the land controls to the respective states. The only lands that the federal government may legally control are those that the state(s) legislators agree to, and the 10 sq miles in Washington D.C…. The federal government may use lands for those as described/allocated in the U.S. Constitution. Look it up. There is ample information available that addresses this matter.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Interesting comment when Bill Gates is investing millions to cut down trees and bury them. This is just the opposite of what O’biden is doing BUT Bill Gates is allowed to do it. HMMMM.

      • Love my country says:

        Whataboutism isn’t a rebuttal, bill gates is not the president nor is he even a member of the government. But but but, isn’t an answer, the constitution mandates the separation of federal and states powers, federal forests are under federal control and protection. If you hate the US constitution then move to China, here in the US we have the freedom and right to live in a beautiful god given landscape.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        The Feds have no business or legal right to “owning” any forests or lands (except the foreign piece of land called Washington D.C. if I remember correctly). This country – the land we live on – belongs to the people. The government (aka the globalists) are illegally taking ownership of much that does not belong to it (them). They are going to be taken down and all of the land will be rightfully returned to the people and will be governed, once again, by the people and not the illegal government.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        As for Chuckie’s sentence, “I would think everyone would want to preserve it, rather than allowing huge swaths to be chopped down…..” This is why I brought up about Bill Gates and O’biden. Bill Gates would probably clear cut this earth if he had his choice!

    • George says:

      It’s a National Forest. In 1960 Congress passed the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act for forest management to provide products and services including recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife and fish. So what Biden has done is blatantly illegal and actually insane.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Goodbye chug

  • CD says:

    Obama needs a Christmas tree for next Christmas. “There’s a law for you’un’s and a law for we’un’s and it ain’t the same law.”

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Gotta wonder if dumass dunleavy is giving Biden that promised robust conversation today at Jber ?

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Mary Peltola probably gave O’biden that robust conversation since she rode back to D.C. with O’biden!