Illegitimate, popular-vote-losing president Donald J. Trump, just yesterday:
“I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that. I think I know more about the environment than most people.”
Illegitimate, popular-vote-losing president Donald J. Trump, today:
Says he wants to log the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, which is in Alaska.
If Trump’s reported plan goes into effect, 9.5 million acres of forest would be impacted.
Did we mention that in Brazil today, the Amazon rainforest is burning?
The the Washington Post reports that “President Trump has instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions imposed nearly 20 years ago, according to three people briefed on the issue, after privately discussing the matter with the state’s governor aboard Air Force One.”
The move would affect more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, opening it up to potential logging, energy and mining projects. It would undercut a sweeping Clinton administration policy known as the “roadless rule” that has survived a decades-long legal assault.
Trump has taken a personal interest in “forest management,” a term he told a group of lawmakers last year he has “redefined” since taking office.
Politicians have tussled for years over the fate of the Tongass, a massive stretch of southeastern Alaska replete with old-growth spruce, hemlock and cedar, rivers running with salmon, and dramatic fjords. Bill Clinton put more than half of it off limits to logging just days before leaving office in 2001, when he barred the construction of roads in 58.5 million acres of undeveloped national forest across the country. George W. Bush sought to reverse that policy, holding a handful of timber sales in the Tongass before a federal judge reinstated the Clinton rule.
Trump’s decision to weigh in, at a time when Forest Service officials had planned much more modest changes to managing the agency’s single largest holding, revives a battle that the previous administration had aimed to settle.
Trump pushes to allow new logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest [Juliet Eilperin and Josh Dawsey, August 27, washingtonpost.com via @passantino]
PHOTOS: Tongass National Forest, via Shutterstock