Al Gore promised yesterday that as president he would expand the Clinton administration’s national forest roadless initiative to include the massive Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and would ban not just road-building but also logging on 43 million acres of undeveloped national forest land. Gore: “If I am entrusted with the presidency, it will be a national priority to preserve these roadless areas as they are, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.” Enviros are adamant that the Tongass, the nation’s largest national forest, must be included in the roadless plan, and they point out that heavily subsidized logging in the forest costs taxpayers about $30 million a year. An increasing number of Alaskans are siding with enviros, wanting to protect the natural resources that draw growing numbers of tourists to the state. Still, many Alaskans staunchly defend the logging industry.
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