EDITOR, Daily News:
A recent op-ed by Robert Venables of Southeast Conference and Bill Jeffress of the Alaska Miners Association got some things wrong.
The unfortunate piece was a collection of misleading suggestions: that restoring the Roadless Rule on the Tongass would somehow prevent road access to mining or geothermal projects in the forest, prevent the construction of electrical interties for our communities, and lock away minerals needed for society to transition away from fossil fuels.
Among other things, the idea that access to the Rare Earth Element resources of the Bokan Mountain Project would be prevented by restoring Roadless protections has me wondering if someone thinks a federal rule change would somehow pick Bokan Mountain up and wing it away off of Kendrick Bay on Clarence Strait.
Either way, the Roadless Rule allows reasonable access to mining, intertie, energy, or other Tongass projects, and, indeed, every single one of the 57 exceptions applied for has been granted. The Southeast Conference and the Alaska Miners Association should know better than to rely on scare tactics.
Instead, maybe they should start listening to the 90% of Southeast Alaskans who raised their — our — voices loud and clear: We want the Roadless Rule protections restored to ensure the future health of salmon, salmon streams, and our way of life.
I urge people to lend their voices and speak up once again as this issue comes back before us during the upcoming, all-hands-on-deck comment period.
Let’s restore the Roadless Rule on the Tongass!
Inside Passage Waters Program Manager
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council