Roadless rule committee formed

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Gov. Bill Walker created the Citizens Advisory Committee that will look at future management of roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest.

    In April, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture accepted Governor Walker’s request for an Alaska-specific rulemaking process on the Roadless Rule. In its rulemaking, the U.S. Forest Service will review opportunities to advance economic development in Southeast Alaska communities while conserving roadless area characteristics.

    The Committee will consist of up to 13 voting members, representing federally recognized tribes in Alaska and Alaska Native regional corporations; environmental organizations; the timber, mining, tourism, energy, and commercial fishing industries; and state and local governments. “This diverse Committee captures voices from stakeholders passionate about one of Alaska’s greatest resources: our land," Governor Walker said, “It is critical for local Alaskans to be part of this important decision-making process that will impact many lives and livelihoods.”

    The Committee will provide recommendations to the Governor and the State Forester, consistent with the memorandum of understanding the State and U. S. Department of Agriculture entered in August 2018. The USDA is beginning an Environmental Impact Statement and public rulemaking process to develop a state-specific roadless rule that establishes a land classification system designed to conserve roadless area characteristics in the Tongass National Forest, while accommodating road construction activities necessary for meeting Southeast Alaska’s continued forest management needs and economic development opportunities.

    The Committee will present an initial written report on the rulemaking process to the Governor and State Forester no later than November 30, 2018, and may include up to three options for a state-specific roadless rule for possible inclusion in the National Environmental Policy Act review process.

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