The U.S. Forest Service on Thursday announced an agreement with the State of Alaska that may lead to more development in the Tongass National Forest
State and federal officials told the Empire Thursday morning that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with the intent to create an Alaska-specific “roadless rule” to fulfill the requirements of an embattled 20-year Forest Service program that blocks roadbuilding in most portions of the Tongass. Without roads, hydroelectric dam construction and large-scale mining and logging are generally uneconomic.
Similar state-specific rules have already been enacted in Colorado and Idaho, and Gov. Bill Walker said in his State of the State address earlier this year that he intended to pursue that approach as part of a drive toward state self-sufficiency.