USDA approves Tongass sale

Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009

KETCHIKAN - A timber sale in the Tongass National Forest will proceed, the first approved by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack since the Obama administration ordered a one-year moratorium on most road-building and other development on about 50 million acres of remote national forests.

Vilsack said in May he would make final decisions on whether to allow road building in roadless areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Ketchikan Daily News reported that Vilsack last week approved the Orion North Reoffer Timber Sale, which offers 6.4 million board feet of timber harvested by clear-cut from about 360 acres near Thorne Arm on Revilla Island. The contract was awarded to Pacific Log and Lumber.

The approval comes in spite a pending lawsuit by environmental groups seeking a new supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

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