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DEC asks Forest Service for comment on Pothole log storage

Posted: December 5, 2012 - 1:05am

The Alaska Department of Conservation has asked the U.S. Forest Service to respond in writing to allegations that it did not provide sufficient information in its proposal to store logs in Wrangell Narrows as part of the Tonka Timber sale.

The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council through attorneys at Earthjustice initiated the complaint.

The Tonka timber sale was approved in March. It proposes a harvest of around 60 million board feet. The Tonka sale is located on approximately 3,500 acres of forested land on the South Lindenberg Peninsula of Kupreanof Island, 10 miles southwest of Petersburg.

The Forest Service obtained an Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to use of Alexander Bay, also known as the Pothole, in the Wrangell Narrows to store log rafts during transfer to Klawock. The Forest Service’s General Permit Authorization AKG 401063 allows for the discharge of bark and wood debris during log raft storage in Alexander Bay.

SEACC has asked the ADEC to terminate the Forest Service’s pollutant discharge permit.  SEACC claims that the Forest Service overstated the cost of log transport by way of barge, an alternative to storage at in the Pothole and that the Forest Service incorrectly stated that no suitable log storage area is available on the road system.

The Department of Environmental Conservation gave the Forest Service an opportunity to respond to the allegations by Dec. 19.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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