Begich Statement on Roadless Rule Settlement
Statement of U.S. Senator Mark Begich on Alaska Roadless Rule Settlement Agreement:
"Alaska's timber industry has suffered its share of setbacks and the last thing it needs is more misguided federal regulation. The Roadless Rule is a bad fit for our state and nothing in this agreement to halt litigation improves conditions for this important industry.
"I appreciate that Secretary Vilsack and the plaintiffs recognize the importance of hydropower development, mining and personal use wood policies to the economy of Southeast Alaska. However, what I have read of the agreement doesn't offer any certainty that there won't be more challenges and delays. Our experience over the past decade suggests there will be.
"With lots of demands on the Tongass National Forest, the Forest Service needs greater flexibility to address these issues while crafting a reasonably-sized timber sale program that keeps the few existing mills alive and allows for modest growth into second growth markets. Instead of adding options, the Roadless Rule takes them away.
"Over the next few days and weeks, I'll be talking with the other members of Alaska's congressional delegation and residents of Southeast Alaska about our options."