Credo Action

Tell Congress: Don't destroy America's largest national forest

Sign the petition

The petition to Congress reads:

"The Tongass National Forest in Alaska is our largest national forest, home to some of the oldest trees in the United States, fragile ecosystems and protected species. Do not allow dangerous road building and old growth harvesting in the Tongass."

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    Tell Congress: Don't destroy America's largest national forest

    Inside America's largest national forest, the trees are older than the United States itself, dating over 1000 years, but these ancient trees of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska could be all but decimated if Donald Trump, Republicans in Congress and the logging industry get their way.

    For years, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski – who some have called the "#1 anti-public land lawmaker" – has been pushing to substantially increase old-growth timber harvesting in much of the Tongass' 17 million acres, which would jeopardize natural habitats, infringe on indigenous rights and put an entire ecosystem at risk.1

    Senate Democrats recently defeated a provision snuck into a government funding bill that would have opened up the Tongass for more logging, but Sen. Murkowski is not done fighting for short-term industry profits over the health of Alaska's wilderness.2 We must act now to prevent future attacks on the Tongass and protect this important national forest.

    Tell Congress: Don't destroy America's largest national forest.

    Located in the southeast region of Alaska, the Tongass National Forest is a 500-mile archipelago, which encompasses the world's largest temperate rainforest and is "home to five species of Pacific salmon, humpback and orca whales, otters, beavers, Alexander Archipelago wolves, plus some of the largest concentrations of brown bears and bald eagles found in the United States."3 Its old-growth trees store vast amounts of carbon – an estimated 10-12 percent of all of America's national forests – and play a critical role as "Alaska’s first line of climate change defense."4,5 And local indigenous people, including the Tlingit and Haida, have lived in this region for centuries and rely on the forest's healthy natural resources for survival.6

    Right now, the Tongass is protected by the "roadless rule," a critical moratorium enacted nearly two decades ago that blocks much-needed road building to access the millions of acres of old growth forests in the Tongass. For years, the logging industry and their Republican backers have attempted to repeal this critical rule but have been stymied in the courts, including by our allies at Earthjustice. Recent efforts could be given new life, especially with public lands foe Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke overseeing national forest regulations.7

    It's only a matter of time before Sen. Murkowski and Senate Republicans again sneak poisonous provisions into future spending bills to destroy the Tongass. For years, Sen. Murkowski fought to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for fossil fuel extraction, and she recently succeeded when she snuck an ANWR drilling provision into last year's Trump Tax Scam.8 We can not let Republicans ruin one more fragile ecosystem to benefit another failing extractive industry.

    Tell Congress: Don't destroy America's largest national forest.

    Thanks for all you do.

    References:

    1. Jake Bullinger, "Lisa Murkowski, the #1 Anti-Public Land Lawmaker," Outside, Feb. 7, 2018.
    2. Earthjustice, "Earthjustice Statement on FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill," March 21, 2018.
    3. Libby Stortz, "Stop attacking the Tongass," Juneau Empire, March 14, 2018.
    4. Dominick A. DellaSala, "The Tongass Rainforest as Alaska’s First Line of Climate Change Defense and Importance to the Paris Climate Change Agreements," Forest Legacies.
    5. Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, "Alaska Indigenous Women to Senator Murkowski: End The Assault On Our Communities and Lands," HuffPost, Jan. 10, 2018.
    6. Krista Langlois, "Thanks to Trump, This Senator Finally Gets Her Chance to Decimate Alaska’s Environmental Protections," Mother Jones, March 11, 2018.
    7. Earthjustice, "Federal Courts Uphold Landmark Federal Forest Protections Again," Sept. 22, 2017.
    8. Graham Lee Brewer, "Alaska is open for drilling," High Country News, Jan. 6, 2018.