The Alaska House Resources Committee just fast-tracked a resolution slamming the inclusion of the Tongass National Forest in the new national roadless policy, in large part claiming that the new rule lacked adequate public process. Ironically, this committee did not allow me nor others to speak at their hearing on this resolution, short-circuiting the same type of public process which they claim to support. The committee chair, Rep. Beverly Masek, also discouraged other members of the committee from asking questions of those who testified.
The Forest Service held 617 public hearings on the roadless policy throughout our country, including Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Yakutat, Kake, Tenakee, Hoonah, Petersburg, Thorne Bay, Craig, Angoon, Gustavus, Wrangell, Anchorage, Girdwood, Seward and Cordova. Everyone was allowed to speak at these hearings. And the vast majority, including in Alaska, spoke in favor of including the Tongass in the national roadless policy.
Katya Kirsch, executive director
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council