Republican News

Republican News

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement on the U.S. Forest Service’s release of proposed changes to the Tongass Land Management Plan.

“I am still reviewing the plan to understand its full effect on Southeast’s economy, but at first glance it does not appear to anticipate sufficient timber harvest to make a transition to young growth timber economically feasible for the region’s remaining few sawmills. It seems premature to change the existing management plan to transition the away from old growth timber until there is better data to show that sufficient young growth will be available over time to make it economic for the industry to transition, and until there is a plan in place for how that transition can be financed.

“The Forest Service also claims that these changes would allow renewable energy development to reduce the need for diesel fuel in local communities, but the plan does not appear to do anything different to facilitate renewable energy development.”

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has repeatedly criticized the administration for failing to actively manage the Tongass and provide sufficient timber sales to support local mills or provide funding for retrofitting to handle younger trees. 

The Forest Service manages more than 22 million acres of national forest lands in Alaska, including nearly all of the land in Southeast.