Allegheny National Forest north of Pittsburgh is about half a million acres of land that has been logged, covered with roads, and drilled for oil and now gas. In SE Alaska is a national forest that is still largely wild. It is Tongass NF, the nation’s largest forest of almost 17 million acres, and part one of the world’s few remaining temperate rain forests. Efforts to ban logging on the Tongass started in earnest in the 1950’s when the US Forest Service signed a 50-year contracts with pulp companies. In 1994 those contracts ended, but the USFS continued to plan for logging in its land management plan of 1997. That plan was overturned in court in 2001 and Pres. Clinton approved the National Roadless Rule. In 2003 Pres. Bush exempted the Tongass from the Roadless Rule.
Earthjustice and NRDC filed suit and on March 4 a federal judge in Anchorage removed the Tongass exemption to the Roadless Rule, thereby protecting 9.5 million acres of wild, roadless areas on the Tongass. Conservationists are waiting to see if the Obama administration will appeal this court ruling.