President Trump has directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest—Alaska’s Tongass National Forest—from logging restrictions imposed nearly 20 years ago, three people familiar with the issue told The Washington Post. The Post reports that the move would open more than half of the 16.7-million-acre forest to potential logging, energy, and mining projects. Trump’s decision would be a blow to a policy instated by former President Bill Clinton that barred commercial logging and forbid the construction of roads except when the Forest Service approves specific projects. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have been vocal opponents of the rule and have urged Trump to exempt their state from the rule. Murkowski has claimed the rule has harmed southern Alaska’s ability to develop a sustainable, year-round economy, as it bars commercial logging.
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