Speed Reads

war on the environment

Trump reportedly instructs agriculture secretary to allow new logging in Alaskan rainforest

President Trump has told Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to remove logging restrictions from Alaska's Tongass National Forest, opening it up to possible logging, mining, and energy projects, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.

The 16.7-million-acre forest in southeastern Alaska is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. Before leaving office in 2001, former President Bill Clinton enacted a policy that prohibited construction of roads in 58.5 million acres of undeveloped national forest land. If the restrictions are lifted, it could affect 9.5 million acres in the Tongass, the Post reports.

Timber is not a huge employer in southeastern Alaska — it accounts for under 1 percent of all jobs — but Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) have pushed Trump to exempt Alaska from the rule, several people told the Post. Ecologists say the Tongass is home to large trees that provide habitat for brown bears, birds, deer, and several other species.