Washington, D.C. – In a June 11, 2019 court decision, the State of Alaska won a major victory against the U.S. Forest Service, allowing the State to implement the 2004 Southeast Transportation Plan. The Southeast Transportation Plan will include the construction of roads on the twenty easements granted to Alaska under SAFETEA-LU – Congressman Don Young’s legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush. In response to the June 11, 2019 ruling, Alaska Congressman Don Young issued the following statement:
“While this court ruling is a good and encouraging step forward, there is still much work ahead. Alaska still needs a complete exemption from the Roadless Rule to ensure that the economy in Southeast grows and remains strong. SAFETEA-LU had several far-reaching and important provisions – among them was a provision to ensure communities in Southeast Alaska were able to develop roads and utilities through easements. Through this ruling, the courts have sent a strong message to the federal government: the intent of Congress must be respected.
Being the largest state in the Union, Alaskans are acutely aware of how necessary roads are to pursuing commerce, seeking medical care, and accessing various other quality-of-life services. I will continue working with the Trump Administration to ensure that Alaskans are not impacted by overreaching, one-size-fits-all regulations written for the Lower 48.”
"The Alaska Forest Association (AFA) would like to thank our Alaska Congressional Delegation, in particular Congressman Don Young who ushered SAFTEA-LU into law, paving the way for this important win for the State of Alaska. This key court decision will help AFA members and other users of the Forest by allowing road easements for construction projects,” said Owen Graham of the Alaska Forest Association. “We will continue to work with the State of Alaska on Tongass issues, including the next key decision which is the outcome for the Roadless Exemption Environmental Impact Statement.”