Appeals court sides with Alaska on roadless rule

JUNEAU — A divided federal appeals court panel has sided with the state of Alaska in reversing a decision that reinstated the roadless rule in the Tongass National Forest.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision Wednesday, found that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had articulated “a number of legitimate grounds” in a 2003 decision to temporarily exempt the Tongass from the roadless rule.

A lower court judge, in 2011, had found the decision to be arbitrary and capricious.

The appeals court panel sent the matter back to the District Court to determine whether additional environmental review is required. Judge M. Margaret McKeown dissented, saying the justification for the shift was missing.

Tongass, located in southeast Alaska, is the nation’s largest national forest.

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Ketchikan theater named for Elizabeth Peratrovich

KETCHIKAN — Elizabeth Peratrovich’s name now stands over the theater in the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, placed there by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood and revealed in an emotional ceremony on Thursday.

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Waste not: Ferries’ flushing bill wins Senate support, 16-2

The Alaska Senate voted 16-2 Friday to cut a break in the state’s environmental regulations for small cruise ships and the Alaska Marine Highway.

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Kenai Peninsula pot businesses may add $5M boost to economy

KENAI — With several marijuana businesses up and running on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, industry estimates show the businesses could contribute $5.3 million annually to the local economy.

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