The Biden administration will “repeal or replace” plans to lift logging and road building restrictions in the massive and largely pristine Tongass National Forest, the USDA announced Friday. The plans to open Tongass to logging activities were put in place by the Trump administration last October, and the details of exactly which protections will be reinstated are still to be determined. Most of the Tongass is in its natural state and is one of the largest relatively intact temperate rainforests in the world and is one of the largest carbon sinks on the planet, sequestering heat-trapping carbon dioxide that would otherwise fuel climate change.
“In order for us to slow down runaway climate chaos, we need to do two things: get off fossil fuels as quickly as possible, and to store atmospheric carbon,” Dominick DellaSala, a scientist with the Earth Island Institute, told the New York Times. “Forests are the best at that and Tongass is the champ.” (New York Times $, Earther, Washington Post $, AP, Vox, Rolling Stone, NY1, E&E $, Axios, Washington Examiner, Politico Pro $)