Appeals Court Revives Alaska Suit On Roadless Rule

Alaska will continue its court battle against a U.S. Forest Service policy that blocks logging in undeveloped areas of national forests.

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Aerial view of Tongass National Forest (Photo by Alan Wu/Flickr Creative Commons)
Aerial view of Tongass National Forest (Photo by Alan Wu/Flickr Creative Commons)

In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a federal judge’s ruling that Alaska waited too long to file its complaint.

The appeals court said Alaska’s lawsuit, filed in 2011, was within a six-year time limit.

The U.S. Forest Service argued that the clock on Alaska’s suit began running in 2001 when the roadless rule was issued. The three-judge appeals panel disagreed, saying the rule was repealed in 2005 by the Forest Service and reinstated in 2006 by a federal judge.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.