Cat's Got Your Tongass
In a decision made public yesterday, a federal judge has halted all logging on roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups that argued that the U.S. Forest Service had breached environmental laws by writing a new management plan for the Tongass in 1997 without considering the roadless tracts for formal protection as wilderness areas. The judge agreed with the groups and ordered the agency to write a new plan that weighs whether any new wilderness areas should be created. Roadless areas cover about 9.4 million acres of the forest’s 17 million acres. The same tracts would be protected under former President Clinton’s rule to ban road-building on 58.5 million acres of national forestland, if President Bush lets the rule stand.