Alaskan rainforest could be opened for mining, logging
JUNEAU, ALASKA — U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is pushing for the commercialization of America's largest national forest for potential mining and logging opportunities.
President Trump is looking to exempt the Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions that were put into place by the Clinton administration, the Washington Post reports, citing three unnamed people that were briefed on the issue.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the policy, road construction and timber harvesting is not allowed on roadless areas in designated national forests.
Congress had designated more than 5.7 million acres of the Alaskan forest land as wilderness that cannot be developed any circumstances, reports the Washington Post.
If President Trump's administration succeeds, around 9.5 millions acres of Alaskan forest land could be affected.
According to the Washington Post, the move would open up the Alaskan rainforest to potential logging, mining and energy projects.
Ecologists pointed out that the forest is home to animals such as the brown bears, Sitka black-tailed deer and the Northern Goshawk, among other species.
Chris Wood, president of Trout Unlimited, an environmental group, said that the region's salmon fishing industry could also be impacted as many wild salmon are spawn in Tongass National park.
Previously, only specific projects approved by the U.S. Forest Service were allowed to take place in the Alaskan forest.