Environmental Groups sue US Forest Service

Boreal Forest

Three separate environmental groups have launched a lawsuit in an effort to halt a contentious sale of old growth tress.

Greenpeace, Cascadia Wildlands and the Tongass Conservation Society filed papers in the US District Court in Alaska. The suit claims the US Forest Service failed to comply with its own federal environmental laws in approving the Logjam timber sale last year in the Tongass National Forest, one of the country’s largest national forests.

The lawsuit alleges the Forest Service did not consider the Logjam timber sale’s impact on local wildlife including wolves, deer and salmon in that part of the Tongass. It further seeks from the court to force the Forest Service and its contractors to stop work on 3422 acres, and force the agency to comply with federal laws.

In December the Forest Service offered roughly one-third of the Logjam timber target for harvest out for bid. Only one company bid on the project, Viking Lumber Co., raising speculation the timber sale’s only purpose was designed to keep Viking, one of the few commercial mills in the area still operating and keep it in business.

“The ink is barely dry on the final offering and already these groups are chomping at the bit to destroy production and prosperity” said Representative Don Young, R-Alaska.

If the sale goes through 250-356 jobs would be created in the area and Young remains committed to ensure the project goes forward despite the lawsuit.

A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.