Following breaking news by the Washington Post that the Trump administration is attempting to unilaterally open 16.7 million acres of Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world and massive carbon sink, to industrial logging and development, Western Values Project Director Jayson O’Neill issued the following statement:
This decision cemented Trump’s legacy as the worst public lands president in U.S. history, period. The list of destructive decisions by this administration is long, but between illegally eviscerating America’s national monuments to now opening the Tongass to industrial logging, no other president has unilaterally removed more protections for America’s cherished public lands than Trump. This is truly a reflection of the corrupt special interest influence driving decisions within Trump’s administration that are not only wrong but also wildly outside of what Americans want and value.”
Trump’s Department of Agriculture posted the notice in the federal register late yesterday. Unfortunately, in addition to the devastating impacts on the world’s climate, logging the Tongass would actually cost taxpayers money due to a Forest Service mandate that logging corporations profit from public timber sales. An analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense found that logging the Tongass National Forest has already cost taxpayers some $1.7 billion.
Western Values Project previously exposed how efforts to log the Tongass had borne out of Trump’s political swamp and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s ties to logging interests that stand to benefit. Senator Murkowski recently flipped her position and chose to support Trump’s controversial climate-denying corporate activist Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.