Environmentalists say allowing road construction – the first step toward logging – could devastate vast forests of snowy peaks, rivers and virgin old-growth forest widely seen as one of America’s treasures. is.
Climate scientists also point out that Tongass serves an important service to the billions of people across the planet who are unlikely to ever set foot there: it is one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, producing nearly half of the stored carbon. is equal to 8 percent. In all the forests of the lower 48 states combined.
It is unclear whether the Biden administration will return protection to the entire 9 million acres of forest or just a portion of it. The White House agenda document said the federal government would formally issue a notice of proposed rulemaking by August, with environmental analysis and final decisions to follow in the coming years.
In a 2019 draft of potential changes to the protection of Tongass environmental studies, the United States Forest Service said it would consider six possible changes to the rule. An alternative would have maintained restrictions in 80 percent of the area currently protected by the rule; The second would have opened up about 2.3 million acres for logging and construction.
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