Trump Moves To Log Tongass National Forest

U.S. Forest Service

As many of you know, I have been a staunch critic of President Trump’s anti-environmental policies from relaxing pollution standards to abandoning climate change efforts. This includes this week methane rollbacks that are so severe and dangerous that even industry is objecting. However, I remain astonished by the scope and depth of these harmful policies. The latest is a move to remove logging restrictions on one of the most pristine and unique national parks: the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest with some 16.7 million acres. It was always viewed as a park to preserve undisturbed and natural areas from developers, miners and other businesses. Trump is about to change all that and, for those of us who love our national parks, it is an utter disgrace. At a time when our national parks are being crowded from rising demand, Trump is not only not adding any park land but plans to allow existing park areas to be cut down in a giveaway to private interests.

There has been a 20-year-old set of restrictions on logging at Tongass National Forest in Alaska. It was part of a “roadless rule” that stopped the introduction of roads and logging in such areas. The Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001 barred road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvest on 58.5 million acres.

According to the The Washington Post, President Donald Trump directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to lift these restrictions at Tongass. It is not clear what interests succeeded in getting the intervention of the President.

It would open up half of the parts to logging.

Having just returned from hiking in Alaska, it is astonishing to me how short-sighted these environmental rollbacks are for the Alaskan delegation (which has extremely poor votings records on protecting parks and natural areas). Logging supports only one percent of the state’s workforce. Conversely, Alaska makes huge amounts from environmental tourism. The delegation however wants to cut down the very forests that are pulling millions of tourists to the state.

149 thoughts on “Trump Moves To Log Tongass National Forest”




    Our Trump-supporting commenters are loath to admit that the state government of Alaska lacks the revenue and resources to manage all the land within in its borders. Apparently ideology prevents them from acknowledging that only the Federal government is big enough to administrate all that space.

    Therefore the Trumpers decided to shift this debate to California with the novel argument that even our most populous state cannot manage land within its cities. L A’s notorious homeless problem is cited as Exhibit ‘A’.

    The idea seems to be that years of rule by the Democratic party combined with ‘leftist sentiments’ has produced an out-of-control homeless community. And ‘hypocritical millionaires with leftist sympathies contribute to the problem by living in walled communities while voting Democratic’.

    These irrational arguments are typical of the Trump era. According to Trump and his supporters, every urban problem is the fault of Democratic city governments. The logic here is breathtakingly simplistic. ‘Because most big cities have Democratic local governments, Democrats own all urban problems’.

    Never mind that Republicans only appeal to voters in outer suburbs and small towns. Never mind that the Republican base is overwhelmingly White. ‘Democrats have fooled minority voters by bribing them with freebies’. This is what’s known as ‘the Democratic plantation’. And ‘no’, we never heard this mindless argument until the Trump era. But urban America rejected Donald Trump. So Trumpers have declared ideological war on urban America.

    Therefore down this thread we have our Trump-supporting commenters claiming the L A’s homeless problem should be simple to fix. Tabby, aka Absurd, offers simple math to show that housing and feeding the homeless can all be done at nominal rates. Apparently Tabby imagines his math is ‘too simple’. ‘Pointy-headed intellectuals have overlooked his math’.

    Alan actually blames Proposition 13 for L A’s homeless problem. Proposition 13 was the ballet measure passed in 1978 that limited taxes for property owners. Said initiative was championed by conservatives and widely credited for starting the ‘Reagan Revolution’. Ironically Alan is partially right in blaming Proposition 13. But one doubts if Alan would blame said initiative if he knew its actual history.

    The history of Downtown Los Angeles factors in the homeless problem. For most of the 19th Century, Los Angeles was a violent wild western town situated where Downtown currently stands. Old Los Angeles was a rather wicked community of brothels and opium dens. Then, in the 1870’s, the transcontinental railroad connected L A to the rest of the country. At that point L A transitioned into a booming western city. By 1900, L A had 100,000 thousand people.

    In the early 20th Century, oil, produce and motion pictures spearheaded decades of economic growth that never really stopped. By 1920, L A had become America’s 10th largest city with almost 600,000 thousand people. Despite this growth, the eastern fringes of Downtown L A retaintained its wild western roots. A pervasive community of transients proved very hard to tame.

    During the 1920’s Downtown L A kept kept pushing westward leaving its seedier roots behind, on the eastern fringes. But over decades a skid row district hardened and expanded on the east. By the late 20th Century, Skid Row had taken over Spring Street, L A’s former banking district. It was a very strange sight: filthy bums sleeping the doorways of once grand skyscrapers.

    L A’s mild weather makes the city a magnet for homeless losers. L A is one of the few big cities in America where transients can camp-out on a year-round basis. Therefore drifters and fugitives from all over the country gravitate to L A. Which makes perfect sense. If you want to disappear from society, Downtown L A is a choice destination. Yet even homeless people have the sense to move further west to Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

    To Be Continued.

    1. Peter, people put the numbers in front of you, and you continue to ignore them. But, once more with feeling: per acre management costs of the sort New York incurs with it’s park land are well within Alaska’s capability even with their huge inventories. Some of Alaska’s inventory would require more active management, some less. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge consists of tundra and trash land. You might have some rangers and surveyors employed there, but you wouldn’t need much more. Other lands which have economic utility can garner revenue from auctions of harvesting rights or could be sold outright to private interests. This isn’t that difficult.

      As for the vagrant population, the problems you have have little to do with lack of funds and a great deal to do with the usual anarcho-tyranny which is the issue of malorganized and demoralized local bureaucracies. And they’re malorganized and demoralized in large measure because they get grief from politicians who are responsive to ‘community activists’ – ie professional nuisances who exist to not be satisfied. Both your land use regime and the refusal of the police to enforce vagrancy laws can be laid at the door of public officials (especially judges) who respond to these pests. A few successful recall campaigns against judges who insist you have a constitutional right to sh!t on the sidewalk might teach your odious judiciary to stay in their godforsaken lane. And a few characters in your local government like Rudolph Giuliani who tell your professional nuisances to pound sand might persuade your police to get out of the Dunkin’ and tell loiterers to move along.

      1. That’s BS TIA. The homeless problem is as I have described it due to changes in laws on committing people against their will and loitering laws coupled with increased drug use. Community activism has nothing to do with the increase. Those court rulings began at the SC level.

          1. Anon, those changes in laws factored mightily in Downtown L.A. When you already have a major Skid Row District, laws like that complicate everything. This is particularly true with regards to the mentally ill. They’re no longer kept in institutions. They’re just roaming the streets instead.

            And again, crazies from all over flock to L.A. and San Francisco for reasons of weather; a dry, warm climate with relatively little rain. If you have to be homeless, those are basic considerations.

            1. They were developing a problem of severe homelessness in NYC, but they fixed most of the problem. They never let it get so bad. There are a few people that are competent and will live in the streets but won’t accept housing.

              Los Angeles and san Fransisco are the Hell of leftist ideas.

        1. Anon, about 1/3 of the vagrant population have had a schizophreniform episode at some time in their past, and not all of them merit institutional care.

          Some people fail spectacularly at the business of daily life. Nothing you can do about that but help them keep body and soul together and attempt to persuade a few of them to avail themselves of paths back to ordinary society.

      2. Tabby, I often wonder if you engage enough with people on your ‘intellectual level’. One gets a lurking suspicion you’re one of the few ‘intellectuals’ in your outer suburb. The outer suburbs of ‘Buffalo’, is it.

        One envisions Tabby’s neighbors thanking him for his savvy insights.

        “Ya know, Tabby, Absurd, you’re the one guy in dis town who got an answer fo everything. The Mrs and I look to ‘you’ to explain it all. And we just wanna thank ya for bein our friend. Cuz we’s damn glad to know ya”.

        At this point the Mrs steps forth, a dumpy little frump, warmly hugging Tabby.

        In such a pickle jar, Tabby imagines his intellectual prowess can vanquish anyone. But it’s really a shell game of gimmicks for stupid people. Tabby affects the tone of an esteemed Research Scientist.

        The super wonky guy who can string insufferably boring explanations. Tabby’s wording is deliberately arcane. So people will hesitate to say they have no idea ‘what’ Tabby means.

        That’s the whole idea: ‘Craft a comment or explanation in language so arcane any thinking person will gloss over it. The research report no one reads! It winds up on that self in the back of the closet only to be trashed years later. Until then it gathers dust.

        Tabby always has simple math to debunk an argument. Simple math explained in super wonky terms. Tabby can debunk Nobel Prize winning scientists with math that says Climate Change is false. And now we learn Tabby knows simple math that could make L.A.’s homeless problem perfectly manageable.

        It doesn’t occur to Tabby that the brightest minds at UCLA, USC and various foundations have studied L.A.’s homeless problem over decades of time. Are we to believe Tabby’s simple math eludes the brightest minds? It’s ‘absurd’, of course, hence Tabby’s name.

        Tellingly Tabby used the name “Insufferable” at one point. ‘Insufferable’ indeed. No one tries to hard to be a crashing bore.

        1. Never lived in Buffalo and haven’t lived in an exurb in 40 years, Peter. As for parks expenditure, you’re either playing dumb or it’s not an act.

        2. Something isn’t quite right with/about old Tabby-cat; something’s “off”…


      Peter continues not to listen or to read. All he does is make excuses for the bad actions of those leftists that direct the city of Los Angeles. In that way Peter is not much different from the third grader who claims the dog ate his homework.

  2. OT:

    Trump can change history by declassifying three Obama-era documents

    My sources tell me President Trump is putting the finishing touches on a White House initiative to declassify documents that have remained hidden from the public for far too long.

    This welcome effort to provide more public transparency and accountability almost certainly will focus early on the failings of the now-debunked Russia collusion probe. And I’m sure it will spread quickly toward other high-profile issues, such as the government’s UFO files that have been a focus of clamoring for decades.

    But my reporting indicates three sets of documents from the Obama years should be declassified immediately, too, because they will fundamentally change the public’s understanding of history and identify ways to improve governance.

    The first includes the national security assessments that the U.S. intelligence community conducted under President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concerning the Russia nuclear giant Rosatom’s effort to acquire uranium business in the United States.

    The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) — made up of Secretary Clinton and eight other senior federal officials — approved Rosatom’s purchase of mining company Uranium One’s U.S. assets in fall 2010, even as the FBI was gathering evidence that the Russian company’s American arm was engaged in bribery, kickbacks and extortion.

    Sources who have seen these classified assessments tell me they debunk the last administration’s storyline that there were no national security reasons to oppose Rosatom’s Uranium One purchase or Vladimir Putin’s successful efforts to secure billions of dollars in new nuclear fuel contracts with American utilities during the Obama years.

    “There were red flags raised, and the assessments expose other weaknesses in how CFIUS goes about these approval processes,” one knowledgeable source told me.

    Under Obama, sensitive foreign acquisitions almost routinely were rubber-stamped by the CFIUS, and the approval process sometimes was delegated by Cabinet officials on the CFIUS to lower-ranking aides.

    Clinton, for example, claims she allowed a deputy to decide the Uranium One purchase, even as her family foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the transaction and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, collected a $500,000 speech fee from Moscow.

    Since Trump took office and Steve Mnuchin took over as Treasury secretary, laudable legislative and administrative changes have been designed to tighten up the CFIUS process, and the percentage of rejected foreign acquisitions has increased because of more aggressive national security vetting.

    But sources say the release of the Rosatom intelligence assessments would identify additional steps that can improve the process and finally would give Americans a complete picture of what happened during one of the most politically controversial CFIUS decisions in history.

    A second body of documents crying out for declassification is Obama’s private correspondence with Iranian leaders — in particular, the Oct. 7, 2014, cable he penned to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, setting the terms for the controversial Washington-Tehran nuclear deal reached in early 2016.

    My sources tell me that letter conflicts with what the Obama administration was telling the American public as it tried to sell the deal politically, and it shows a level of courtship, concession and trust with Tehran that exceeded the U.S. intelligence assessments at the time.

    For example, my sources tell me that Obama promised Iran it could have a “domestic enrichment capacity” and that Tehran could be restored to a nation “in good standing” under the world’s nuclear non-proliferation treaty, even though U.S. intelligence had corroborated an extensive weapons program that violated that treaty for years.

    The 2014 letter was preceded by at least three other private communications between Obama and officials in Tehran, including two in 2009 and one in 2012. All need to be declassified and released for Americans to better understand the merits of Obama’s approach with Iran.

    Trump since has canceled the 2016 deal with Iran and imposed crippling new sanctions. But the true circumstances, promises and communications that led to the deal remain secret. The American public has much to gain from more transparency on this critical issue affecting world peace.

    The final Obama-era tranche that requires declassification concerns Hillary Clinton’s email controversy — a highly classified set of documents that FBI agents identified as important and necessary in the investigation into whether she violated the law by transmitting classified emails on her unsecured private server.

    As I wrote last week, the agents never got to review those documents in 2016 before then-FBI Director James Comey unilaterally decided not to seek criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton.

    The Justice Department’s internal watchdog in 2018 provided Congress a classified annex explaining how the FBI intended to examine that secret evidence, but never did. Sources who have seen the annex say it contains explosive revelations about what really happened with Clinton’s emails and the national security concerns that her conduct raised.

    Uranium One, the Iran deal, Clinton’s emails — all have dominated headlines for many years without a full public accounting.

    Trump has an unprecedented opportunity to close the loop on these controversies and to give Americans more transparency and visibility into what happened, as well as how we can make government better when national security is at stake.

    John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.

  3. See what happens when you surround yourself with neocons, you start acting like one. I’m sure it was disheartening to many, when Trump starting appointing neocons right and left. For far too long, our forest been cut down and sold off to foreign countries. At least he didn’t sell it back to Russia, I’m pretty sure Hillary would have.

  4. The Tongass has been logged for decades with some areas restricted and some restricted to what can be cut. I don’t recall seeing any clear cuts and even in the lower 48 saw much of the land cut clean become replanted. Thank the Hodad Movement for some of that. Not a problem ow anymore as most of the lumber industry sold i’s mills and equipment to places like Costa Rica and Russia and much of our former industrial base is now imported in metric forms.

    But you had to grow up in the Pacific NW area or live there for some decades to notice the difference. A big one was changing from the wigwam burners for slash and trash to making things such as broom handle stock or wafer board. As early as 1963 when I worked in one of the mill we began the don’t waste anything style of logging.

    Now one place to visit is just south of O’Brien Oregon on the Redwood Highway and to the right you’ll find some ponds (old mill ponds) and houses on low hills just behind them. Those hills were made by sawdust. I’m betting you would never guess that by just looking.

    I’m more interested in cleaning up the filthy heat sinks called metropolitan area and fund mostly in the far east of the USA and reduction of use of bituminous coal. Heal thyself.



    Professor Turley links a Newsweek story concerning Trump’s rollback of regulations concerning methane leaks. Here is an excerpt:

    Just two days after President Donald Trump called himself an “environmentalist,” his administration announced a rollback of methane gas emissions regulations so large that even oil companies are objecting to the change.

    In the proposed rule change, released by the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday morning, the agency would end a federal regulation that requires gas and oil companies to use technology to inspect for and repair methane leaks in their infrastructure. This would leave large segments of the oil and gas industry entirely uncontrolled with no pollution limits. Methane emissions are known to cause climate change.

    The administration estimates that the rollbacks will save the oil and gas industry $17 to 19 million a year.

    But oil and gas bigwigs don’t support the change. Susan Dio, the chairwoman and president of BP America, wrote an opinion piece for the Houston Chronicle in March where she claimed it was essential that the EPA regulate methane gasses.

    ExxonMobil wrote a letter to the EPA last year, asking them to keep methane regulations intact, and Gretchen Watkins, the U.S. chairwoman for Shell, said in March that the EPA should keep rules in place to regulate methane production.

    Edited from: “Trump Administration Rolls Back Greenhouse Gas Regulations So Far Even Oil Companies Object”

    Newsweek, 8/29/19

    This story got extensive coverage yesterday in mainstream media. This Newsweek piece is typical of what I read. Big Oil did not ask for this rollback. Big Oil fears that smaller, less responsible companies might act irresponsibly and the entire industry will be blamed.

    Trump’s rollback of auto emission standards is a similar story. The auto makers did ‘not’ ask for it. And to Trump’s chagrin, the auto makers have decided to still meet the standards set by Obama’s Administration.

    One should note that early in his administration, Trump rolled-back rules regarding coal emissions from aging power plants. That too was a case where the industry hadn’t requested rollbacks. Big power companies had been phasing out coal in favor of natural gas. Yet Trump disingenuously justified his action as an emergency declaration usually reserved for wartime.

    Trump’s record with regards to environmental regulations is pathologically contemptuous. It seems to spring from a 19th Century mindset where pollution was linked to industrial might. One is reminded of those scenes in old movies where the rich industrialist presides from an office adorned with paintings of giant smokestacks dominating the landscape.

    1. Peter’s disturbed by methane betwixt and between bouts of trolling restrooms in West Hollywood.

      1. Tabby, at one time I imagined you had the intelligence to engage in real debates. How wrong I was! You’re just a gutless weasel resorting to homophobic taunts out of desperation. And the truth is, those engaging in homophobic taunts tend to be the ‘bi-curious’ types.

        What’s more, we can safely bet you’ve never been to West Hollywood or even L.A. West Hollywood is just someplace you read about somewhere and have no idea of ‘where’ it really is in relation to Beverly Hills or Hollywood itself.

        1. at one time I imagined you had the intelligence to engage in real debates. How wrong I was!

          That’s because you’ve never proven the ability to connect with the left half of your brain. That leaves you with a stunted worldview assembled by an undisciplined imagination.

        2. And none of the comments in this little stream will be deleted. The blog’s monitor is not a neutral party.

        3. “Tabby, at one time I imagined you had the intelligence to engage in real debates.”

          Laughable! We can only hear this BS From the Shill who runs from debate as fast as Anon. I can’t figure out which one of the two provides the best view… of their backs that is as they run from debate. Did you yet respond to the evidence Karen produced for you Peter? No.

  6. We Alaskans never had your view of the Tongass. It is a renewable resource. Only the wealthy and healthy can sit among the trees and ponder their navals.

    1. Only the wealthy and healthy can sit among the trees and ponder their navals.

      LOL! And their damaged egos as they await the arrival of search & rescue to airlift them back to the safety of their concrete jungle.

    2. If resources are to be sustained they must be managed, not just exist. We’ve seen the results of logging restrictions across the west in recent years with huge fires being the result of failing to manage in the name of preservation. Log it…or watch it burn.

    1. Well, yeah.

      The largest hoard is supervised by the Bureau of Land Management, and it’s grazing land. The impediment there is that grazing permits are status tenures distributed to people who owned plots adjacent to federal lands. The value of the permit (less the fees) was capitalized into higher land prices in those adjacent parcels. It’s proper that the permit holders be indemnified for the loss of the permits, as they more-or-less paid for them when they bought that adjacent parcel (unless they were in the first generation of permit holders). So, you have to work out an indemnity formula. The lawyers would keep that one stopped up in court for a decade or two or three before you could auction the BLM holdings. IIRC, about 12% of the land area of the U.S. is managed by BLM.

      And, of course, you needn’t have the government in the timber business. You could sequester the old growth and turn it over to the National Park Service and auction the rest. Problem: property taxes induce a bias toward deforestation, so you’d have to persuade state governments to pass constitutional amendments removing property taxes on woodland. Good luck with that.

      And, of course, a great many National Park Service properties and Fish and Wildlife Service properties are neither on the coast or straddling state borders. You could off-load them to state governments. The State of New York performs passably with the Adirondack State Park, which is fairly large compared to most federal parks. And then you have monuments that should be turned over to the states or to philanthropic bodies because they’re not consequential the sweep of national history. Civil War battlefields are one thing. Franklin Roosevelt’s house is something else.

      1. says the fake commenter with the fake name who says he is usually found in the LA canyons…..

        fakers are so fake

        1. Some of the Turley-blog twits love posting anonymously. They complain about it, but enjoy using the anonymous label when it suits…


      2. Peter – it is 1:55 pm and the temp is 102, it is an excessive heat and excessive ozone day, Plus, the humidity is up, the monsoon has finally arrived. So, the short answer to the question is To Damn Hot.

        1. Paul, you’re referencing a song from “Damn Yankees”. But that’s a problem with much of the west. It’s “Too Damn Hot” for sustainable communities. And I’ll be the first to admit there are too many people in California. There are reasons wildfires are always threatening communities.

          1. Peter – it is not a reference to Damn Yankees. I tell newcomers we have three temperatures: hot, damn hot, too damn hot. 😉

  7. It is most unfortunate that people outside the state of Alaska are astonished why anyone would log anywhere in the state. It shows there was not much effort taken to understand the reasons, or the core issue. Who should decide what is to be done with land, the states where it is located, or the federal government? Should people on the other side of the nation vote against the wishes of the people of the less populated state itself? Would it be right for the people of Alaska to decide that CA’s resources are getting too strained, and there should be a statewide moratorium on building, to benefit the environment? The pollution of San Francisco is killing and weakening a lot of the Giant Redwoods. Should the people of Alaska be able to tell the people of San Francisco how to solve this problem?

    It is really easy for people to criticize others, when they are not the ones being financially affected. It’s a let them eat cake attitude. Logging, mining, and fossil fuels jobs don’t seem to enter into the equation, but all of these are vitally important to such topics. These are jobs that put food on the table, and that drive the very effort to develop these areas. Such concerns cannot be ignored, and then be astonished when the people of Alaska want to develop their own land. It is the inevitable result.

    Alaska residents, and its politicians, have asked to be exempted from this rule for years.

    The move to ease logging restrictions came after meeting with Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R). According to Governor Dunleavy. “At the time, Dunleavy told reporters after the meeting that the president “really believes in the opportunities here in Alaska, and he’s done everything he can to work with us on our mining concerns, timber concerns.”

    “We talked about tariffs as well,” he also said. “We’re working on a whole bunch of things together, but the president does care very much about the state of Alaska.”

    The reported move, which has prompted alarm from wildlife experts and conservationists, has come after repeated calls from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to exempt Alaska from the Clinton-era rule.

    Murkowski said in a statement to the Post that the rule “should never have been applied to our state” and added that it is “harming our ability to develop a sustainable, year-round economy for the Southeast region, where less than one percent of the land is privately held.”

    “The timber industry has declined precipitously, and it is astonishing that the few remaining mills in our nation’s largest national forest have to constantly worry about running out of supply,” she added.”

    I can see both sides of the issue of states vs the federal government on land. On the one hand, it seems reasonable that the people who live in the state should determine what is done with its own land and resources. That means that those who are impacted would be the ones deciding. On the other hand, I can see why a country would want national parks, with longer lasting protections, as treasures belong to all of its citizens. Since forests sequester carbon, release oxygen, bank water, and increase humidity in the atmosphere, they benefit all of us. Should the entire forest of Alaska be cleared one day, the impact would be felt by everyone.

    I love forests and trees. Old growth is precious, and some of the trees in Alaska are nearly a thousand years old. On the other hand, forest fires burn hundreds of thousands of acres in Alaska, and sometimes over a million, in a single year. It’s a bit different in Alaska than CA, as many of its fires are caused by lightening. The rest are human caused. The trend of forest fires is on the rise, fires in forests without roads. Firefighters parachute, use power boats, and even canoe to get to fires. Sometimes, they are stuck out there for a while before getting a lift back because…no roads. Deadfalls aren’t cleared because there is no logging. This may contribute to the loss of more acres of trees than logging would have created. The more trees are lost, the drier the atmosphere becomes.

    So here is what I propose. The people of a state should have a say in how their land is developed. The impact of resource management on jobs and housing needs to be part of that conversation. A balance must be struck in how developing such land affects the rest of the country, and so that the forest itself is preserved for future generations. It is not being preserved if it burns.

    1. If Tongass belongs to Alaskans, then the federal government would have no say. Since the federal government DOES have a say, then all Americans should have a voice in stopping practices that would destroy the beauty and natural resources of Tongass. No more Executive Orders written by a fake POTUS beholden to anyone he thinks he can get money or votes from. Pristine areas are getting harder and harder to find. Tongass is environmentally important for removing and storing carbon, not to mention the scenery, wildlife and fishing, all of which are now at risk. Have you been to Sequoia National Forest and did you see the huge sequoia tree that had a road cut through it? You look at that and wonder what the hell people were thinking. How could they destroy a tree that took thousands of years to get this large, merely for entertainment and photo ops? Then, there’s Mammoth Cave and all of the graffiti that was considered perfectly acceptable decades ago. Tour guides made money by leading people down there to paint their names on the cave ceiling. They used to leave electric lights on all of the time, too, until a strange variety of algae started growing due to the carbon dioxide and light that humans introduced into the cave. How about people traveling to the home island to club to death, for the sport of it, the now-extinct dodo bird that didn’t run away from people because its natural habitat had no humans or natural predators, so it had no protective instinct? How about clubbing to death baby seals because it’s just, well, so much fun to see blood, skull fragments and brain tissue of young seals on the snow. What a testosterone rush: “I killed that…what a big man I am”! Most reasonable people feel the same way about logging in the Tongass.

      So, according to Karen’s logic, if there’s something in a state that can be exploited to get that all-important MONEY, then the government should stay out and let the locals decide. So, for instance, if the State of Alabama decided that there’s money to be made by trafficking pre-pubescent girls and boys, then it should be allowed, and it’s none of the federal government’s business, because the innocence and early sexual development of children that pedophiles will pay dearly for are a “resource” to be developed. There is actually such tourism in Thailand. Those who traffic the children probably have lots of money with which to make campaign contributions, too. The point with all of this is that there are bigger issues and values involved–ones in which we all should have a voice. Tongass didn’t happen overnight, but it could be destroyed in relatively short order. Repairing the damage due to logging and constructing roads could take many lifetimes, but once it’s gone, it’s gone for a very long time–maybe forever. There’s nothing in Tongass that couldn’t be gotten elsewhere. Those who come after us might well look at photos before hand and wonder” “what the hell were they thinking?’

      1. If Tongass belongs to Alaskans, then the federal government would have no say. Since the federal government DOES have a say, then all Americans should have a voice in stopping practices that would destroy the beauty and natural resources of Tongass.

        The question is not who owns the land, it’s who should own the land. States should own all the land within their borders and the Feds should be required to prove the land they want to convert to federal property has a necessary national interest that cannot be managed at the state level.

        1. The federal government acquired Alaska first, and never divested of control of Tongass or Denali, for that matter.

          1. That doesn’t answer the question. How much of that acquired land should be owned by the federal government? And why?

            1. IMHO, all currently undeveloped riparian land should be considered vital to national defense, and adjacent acreage should also be included to be held and managed by the federal government for national security purposes. I don’t want to see a Trump Tower or Motel 6 next to the Golden Gate Bridge, where some crank could hole up in a room and start picking off people on the bridge, like what happened in Las Vegas. Development would also destroy the beautiful vistas we all love, and real estate is precious and valuable in San Francisco. I don’t want to see anything constructed in Tongass. Leave the trees, the lakes, the vistas and wildlife alone. Hiking, camping and fishing are OK, but leave the place like you found it. Keep it for the enjoyment of future generations. There are too-few pristine places left.

              1. all currently undeveloped riparian land should be considered vital to national defense, and adjacent acreage should also be included to be held and managed by the federal government for national security purposes.

                I’m certain President Trump would appreciate your humble and supportive opinion as he continues to build the wall along our southern border. 🙂 See, you have more in common with your president than you ever knew.

                1. Most border areas are not riparian–i.e., abutting navagable water. And, Ollie, you know that orange anomaly isn’t my anything. And just when I thought we were learning to get along.

        2. Olly, the federal government owns the land because it paid for them. Who else should own it?

          1. Depends on the specific parcel. Most public lands were sequestered and turned over to federal agencies rather than being sold by the old General Land Office. There really isn’t much justification for retaining aught but an odd fraction of it, bar the bollocks status tenures.

          2. One other point: Tongass is right on the southern Alaska coast, so it is strategically-located. The Presidio of San Francisco is also coastal, and it is managed by the US Government because of its strategic coastal location. That’s why Fort Point was constructed. Alcatraz also was originally developed for national defense. The antique cannons are still there. One reason why there is no development around the Golden Gate Bridge is to prevent saboteurs for seizing control of the area and/or damaging the bridge. San Francisco has always been considered important for national defense.

            What would happen if Alaska controlled Tongass, and the governor got cozy with a former KGB officer because they needed money and Russian oligarchs agreed to co-sign for loans, and as a favor, the governor decided to let Russia build a facility controlling access to this coastal area? Oh, I know, this is really far-fetched. It would be unthinkable for any US government leader to ever be cozy with a Russian dictator, former KGB head, or to try to do deals in Russia or to have Russian oligarchs co-sign loans–right? Patriotism would absolutely prevent this.

            1. Time for your activities therapy classes. Today we’ll be making trivets.

              1. You’ll be working in teams today. Let us know how your trivet turns out.

          3. They also paid for the land that is now Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma; in addition, most of the land in Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Minnesota was part of that purchase. Yet the feds own only 48% of Colorado on the high end and .3% of Iowa on the low end. Alaska is at 61%. So what reason does the federal government use to justify leaving Iowa with 99.7% control over its land and Alaska only 38.70%?

            1. Olly, look at a map and read a book. Iowa is among the best arable lands anywhere, was developed at a time when agriculture employed most of our population, which was a necessary and important part of our economy, and we had less people. The same is mostly true of the other states you name. There is no lumber shortage – the Canadians provide the studs as cheap as you could want and southern pine is as strong as western fir for joists, rafters, and beams and grows much faster. Western cedar is nice as exterior siding and trim, but everybody’s going to cement fiber board, so that’s dying.

              Besides, we don’t want to sell or give it to the Alaskans. They can take a hike – literally – if they don;t like what they’ve got.

                1. Weak. You started the Iowa/Alaska comparison and now it’s in your lap.

                  Yes, we own and there is no reason to give it away or sell it.

                  1. Yes, we own and there is no reason to give it away or sell it.

                    Good to know where the democrats still stand on rights; whether they be the individual or the states.

                    1. Still weak Olly – You started the Iowa/Alaska comparison and it’s dead and now you are equally confused on rights,

                      My rights as a US citizen are greater in Alaska now then if federal land was sold or given away, and so are yours. Trump’s swamp friends maybe not.

                    2. You started the Iowa/Alaska comparison and it’s dead and now you are equally confused on rights,

                      My rights as a US citizen are greater in Alaska now then if federal land was sold or given away, and so are yours.

                      Part of the CR movement you say, huh? Which part, for or against? First you say we don’t want to sell or give it to the Alaskans. They can take a hike – literally – if they don;t like what they’ve got. As if the citizens in Alaska have no rights because the lower 48 own them. And then you confirm that by saying My rights as a US citizen are greater in Alaska now then if federal land was sold or given away, and so are yours.

                      You have a sick and twisted understanding of rights. In fact it is no different than that of slaveholders. Just because you were able to purchase property doesn’t necessarily mean you have a right to it. The citizens of Alaska, and the state itself have rights within our constitutional system. Ever heard of the 10th amendment? The territory within the boundaries of the state of Alaska should rightfully belong to the citizens of that state unless a compelling reason exists that the federal government should be given control.

                      My rights and yours are not improved because you favor denying other citizens theirs; in fact quite the opposite. It’s precisely because you support the federal government’s denial of rights of other citizens that my rights are made far less secure. CR movement heh? You are a fraud.

                    3. Olly, you’re confused about both rights and ownership, obviously and the “slaveholder” nonsense proves that. If you think Alaskans are living in a state of slavery, or even 2nd class citizenship, you have dangerously lost all perspective and disqualified yourself from serious discussion.

          4. “The federal government owns the land because it paid for them(sic)” With money they took from citizens. The federal government’s current land holdings in most of the west could easily be reduced by 50% and still be more than adequate for conservation purposes. Not only could, but should. Some should be sold and the money be dedicated to paying down the national debt. Some should be given to state and local governments. Some could be homesteaded.

        3. Olly, Alaska will never have the funds to administrate all the land in its borders. The population of Alaska is about the same as Indianapolis Indiana. When Sarah Palin was trying to trumpet her ‘executive experience’ in governing Alaska, it came out that the Feds run most of Alaska. The actual state itself is pretty much limited to a hundred mile radius around Anchorage.

          1. The federal government doesn’t run ‘most of the state’. It owns a great deal of land where no one lives. And Gov. Palin actually had spent 11 years in executive positions. Obama had spent no time in executive positions (unless you count running the Chicago Annenberg Challenge into the ground).

            As for your other lies, the Adirondack Park Agency has a budget of $4.7 million to administer an area of 9,400 sq miles. If the per acre cost were similar, it would cost the state just shy of $300 million, which could in Alaska be financed with a 1.5c sales tax even if the land brought them no revenue. But, of course, they would get revenue from auctions of harvesting rights. The five federal agencies which administer landholdings have operating budgets which sum to about $5.60 an acre, and that would be a stiff charge for Alaska if they faced similar operating costs.

            Of course, you could auction most of it, not adding to state charges. But that’s too sensible.

            1. Tabby, are you trying to engage in serious debate here? Because you have created the significant impression of being a bi-curious twit with his mind in public restrooms.

              And if you think that being mayor of a truck stop is a bigger job than the U.S. Senate or even the Illinois State Senate, then you have little grasp of reality.

              1. She was also Governor of Alaska and a state bureau chief. And she wasn’t mayor of truck stop, but of a town with 5,000 residents, real buildings, and payrolls to meet.

                Obama’s never had the sort of disciplined responsibility she had in all of her public sector jobs. State legislators generally work part time and employ a single-digit staff. The function of the staff is to serve them. It has no abiding mission with operational measures of competence.

                Neither did Biden, while we’re at it. A Senate staff is much larger than any Obama would have had as a state legislator, but it’s still a staff.

                1. Tabby, for the record Wasilla has about 10,000 residents (per 2017 estimates). But that’s still a small town. Truck stops are today what railroad junctions were a hundred years ago. A host of businesses develop where highways cross and that creates an economy which becomes the lifeblood of a town.

                  But if being mayor of a town that size qualifies one for the presidency, then literally thousands of Americans can claim presidential qualifications. Here in L.A. County there are dozens of communities near freeway junctions as big or bigger than Wasilla. But it’s not like their mayors can claim ‘presidential experience’.

          2. Alaska will never have the funds to administrate all the land in its borders.

            Prove it. In the meantime, we have major cities and states going bankrupt with significant administrative failures. Should the feds come in and take ownership there?

            1. Ollly, there aren’t enough people in Alaska to create a sufficient revenue stream to manage that vast space.

              1. California is the world’s 5th largest economy with the largest population in the United States. Revenue streams and population are not the magic management elixir you think they are.

                1. Olly, you’re bolstering my point. Alaska has considerably more space than California. Yet Alaska’s population about the size of Long Beach and Glendale combined; just two of many cities in L.A. County.

                  1. Bolstering? LOL! Yeah, LA County’s a peach. Venice Beach businesses and residents aren’t likely to agree with your point.

                    This is from your neck of the woods:

                    With swelling transient encampments abutting seven-figure homes, the beachside enclave has emerged as a flashpoint for the inequality shaping Los Angeles — and a real-world test case for the liberal ideology of the area’s showbiz residents.


                    1. Olly, your link means NOTHING in the context of this debate. Lack of affordable housing is a serious issue ‘because’ real estate is insanely expensive. No one knows how to solve this problem. If you have answers, feel free to share them.

                      Even if L.A. had billions to spend on affordable housing, “Not in my backyard” becomes another issue. But none of this relates to Alaska and all the land they have. It’s just a stupid red-herring to change the subject.

                    2. your link means NOTHING in the context of this debate.

                      That you don’t see the context does not mean it does not exist. Your argument is the state of Alaska lacks the resources and population to effectively manage the entirety of the land within it’s boundaries. The county of Los Angeles has both the resources and population, and yet are failing in numerous ways to effectively manage their jurisdiction. If all that were necessary for effective management were resources and population, then cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore would not be ranked among the worst administered cities in the country. Using your failure to administer logic, those cities (and perhaps their states) should lose sovereignty over their current jurisdiction back to the federal government and then the federal government may release only that portion they deem the cities and states are qualified to administer.

                    3. Olly, few cities anywhere have the resources to deal with serious homeless problems. L.A.’s mild weather draws fugitives and drifters from all over the country. It’s one of the few big cities in America where people can camp out year round. And like I say, even if L.A. had billions to throw at the problem, there’s still an issue of ‘where’ to locate housing for the homeless.

                      Decent middle class homes start at about a million in L A. $700,000 will get you a fixer-upper. People paying that kind of money for homes, scarcely want formerly homeless people living in nearby projects. So ‘Not In My Backyard” becomes a major stumbling block.

                      And ‘where’ do you live, Olly? I’m curious to know why you think urban problems should be so simple to fix.

                    4. Olly, few cities anywhere have the resources to deal with serious homeless problems.

                      You have problems with basic arithmetic.

                      There are about 600,000 vagrants in the United States. Supplying soup kitchens, community food cupboards, and clothing depots to provide sustenance for that clientele would cost $2.6 billion, max. The implicit rent on the space necessary for dormitories would be about $700. A passable estimate for building maintenance charges for the dormitories would be $1.3 bn. That amounts to $4.6 bn in plant and equipment charges each year. These agencies are manned with volunteer labor, clergy, and some modestly compensated wage-earners. The revenue of registered philanthropies in this country is currently running at about $1,900 bn a year. Financing subsistence for vagrants is well withing the capacity of private charity.

                      The one thing local government needs to supply is muscle, which is to say added police patrols and / or deputized security guards. For a core city with a population of about 140,000, about three-dozen employees on shift would suffice.

                    5. “Decent middle class homes start at about a million in L A. $700,000 will get you a fixer-upper. People paying that kind of money for homes, scarcely want formerly homeless people living in nearby projects. So ‘Not In My Backyard” becomes a major stumbling block.”

                      Typical left wing Democrat. Hill’s policies create upper middle class and rich enclaves where both tangible and legal walls are built to keep out others that aren’t as “high class” as themselves. They promote all sorts of programs that impoverish the middle and lower classes and expect everyone else to pay for them. He’s not a real socialist. He’s a snooty guy that likes to hang around the rich and has been fortunate enough to fit just into the circle that keeps the homeless and immigrants out. He loves virtue signaling but at the same time he supports only laws that make his areas more “exclusive” but prevents adequate housing and prices for others. He is as selfish as they come and by doing so has caused the standard of living for millions to be lower than necessary.

                      The walls (both physical and legal) in the greater Los Angeles areas should be torn down. The second that happened Los Angeles would fight to stop illegal immigration and when the homeless were sleeping on their lawns they would make sure the city was run properly and housing was available. Of course they would have to pay higher prices for their maids and other people that do their physical work and they may have to pay higher taxes because of the miserable way they have governed. All we are seeing in Los Angeles is what happens when rich leftists take over and screw the rest of the population. Any administsrator from even a small town like Wasilla knows more of the basics of running a city than has been seen in politicans that have run Los Angeles for years.

                    6. Real estate charges per household in the Los Angeles commuter belt are about double the national mean. That’s one reason, among many others, to not live around Los Angeles. A fat chunk of your problem is attributable to wretched land use regulations.

                    7. “Real estate charges per household in the Los Angeles commuter belt are about double the national mean. ”

                      If I am correct real estate estate taxes in Los Angeles are fixed at a certain level with only minor increases being permitted. This means a $500,000 home that is later worth $5 million is taxed at around $500,000 until sold. That means that the young with families can move in not just with a higher price but their neighbor might be taxed at $500,000 when they are taxed at $5,000,000. To make things worse they are creating a type of royalty so that the children can inherit that same tax rate. That is one reason for younger families inability to afford a home.

                      There is a good chance that Peter has been living in the same home for decades so he can talk big but pay only a fraction of the taxes he should. For all we know he inherited his house from a relative and therefore is also getting a reduced tax rate from them while he watches others with similar properties pay mutilples of his real estate taxes. Likely he benefits from all this cr-p that hurts those in the middle class and below. Then he talks big.

                    8. By some accounts, about 1/3 of the vagrant population have had a schizophreniform episode. Deficits in custodial care for the insane are a part of the problem, but if every one of these persons were committed, you’d still have a six-digit population of vagrants.

                    9. DSS, in the very late 1960’s NYS developed an open door policy for their mental institutions despite pleas from those that actually cared for the people. At one state hospital within hours there were I think 3 deaths and whole slew of injuries before the doors were shut against NYS policy. Certain people should not be released from such facilities and cannot survive outside such facilities without care.

                    10. TIA confirms the prevalence of the mentally ill among the homeless and to a lesser extent veterans. An important question would be of the chronically homeless – not all stay that way – what per cent are mentally ill.

                      As I noted, other contributing factors are drugs and court rulings on commitments – not only schizophrenics would have met this earlier fate – and loitering laws. The latter has turned our city parks and libraries into no go zones for regular citizens and encouraged more homelessness outside of shelters ….. because they can.

                  2. Hill, you’re FOS. Much of the federal land in Alaska has zero administrative cost. Much of it could or does produce a net profit. Much of it would go for a tidy sum on the open market.
                    People, on the other hand frequently have a high administrative cost. Like a lot of the illegal aliens and homeless flocking to California.

                  3. I’ve been to LA and noted the large homeless problem. It has nothing to do with walls as Allan ignorantly targets and tries to blame the problem at Hill. The homeless are in the better neighborhood parks, including Santa Monica and Beverley Hills. They go there instead of Omaha – which dollars to donuts has a homeless problem – because it’s warm and there’s money there. By the way, the wealthy everywhere put up walls. That’s not a liberal thing as dummy Allan pretends.

                    1. You are plain stupid Anon. When you isolate the political control of a city from all its ill effects and the elite social class still get reelected a major problem is created. The reason the homeless are in certain areas is because they are kept away from this elite class. Once the elite class feels the effects as much as the working class they will quickly change the way they rule the city. We are not talking about a few homeless. We are talking about rows of tents with sanitary conditions that can create all sorts of disease. We are talking about lessening our human sensitivities towards human sufferring. I’m the conservative and you are the Liberal but it seems you accept this inhumanity as justice and I don’t accept it as I believe this is something society deals with and prevents.

                      Out of sight, out of mind.

                    2. I gather Allan has taken a gander at Rob Reiner’s spread in Malibu.

                    3. Allan can and will persist in his ignorance of the homeless problem in America, and it is not limited to blue states. The homeless in LA and most other cities occupy parks, libraries, and streets of wealthy and not wealthy neighborhoods, favoring places with better weather and lucrative pan handling opportunities. Court rulings dating back to Reagan – no, it’s not his fault – made it harder to commit people unwillingly to mental institutions, and a 1972 ruling made loitering laws unenforceable. Drugs and a sizable veteran population have exacerbated the problem. Rob Riener and Ronald Reagan – among other Hollywood types – had nothing to do with it.

                    4. Anon sticks to his stupidity. That most of the worst problems are in blue cities doesn’t mean that problems can’t occur elsewhere only that they occur at a much lower frequency. It is the ideology of blue, leftism, combined with human nature that leads to this blot on society. We saw this during the Obama years where minorities and people in need weren’t really helped except where it extended the power of government and then much of the resources spent were poorly spent.

                      The problem is the left can only destroy and is unable to build. That is the ideology Anon holds dearly to. Hollywoood types hold significant responsibility for Holywood helps to create our culture. Just compare the ‘me too’ effects on those from Hollywood and compare them to the average Joe.

                    5. Per the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, about 10% of the adult male vagrant population are veterans. About 14% of the adult male population-in-general are veterans. Veteran status isn’t a powerful vector in influencing homelessness.

              2. Math is hard for Barbie and Peter.

                The per acre operating costs the State of New York faces in supervising the Adirondack Park would make land management well within the capacity of the Alaska government given some lead time. It’s when you get to the per acre costs the federal government incurs that you have a challenge.

                We can explain something to you. We cannot comprehend it for you.

                1. Tabby, what are you talking about?? New York is the nation’s 4th largest state in terms of population. Greater Buffalo has more people than Alaska.

            2. We own Alaska already. It’s not for sale and if it was, you couldn’t afford it.

    2. Karen, this is about the best reply I’ve seen here. I like Jon Turley but I also know that, often, there are two sides to a story. Your second-to-last paragraph brought up concerns that are of merit.

        1. Don’t beg, it’s not very becoming of you. Instead try challenging her position. She has proven she will admit when she is wrong.

    3. The people who own the lands should decide their fate. That would be US citizens who own it, not the people of Alaska or San Francisco.

      1. “U.S. Citizens” will decide nothing. Federal officials will, for better or worse.

        You want actual people with allodial rights to make decisions, you’re going to have to do something sensible, like persuade the State of Alaska to remove property taxes on woodlands and then auction parcels of it off. Of course, the Wilderness Society will blow a gasket.

        1. Federal officials are under the authority of elected federal office holders who represent the US citizens who voted for them.

          Not so fast Trump, that doesn’t include you.

  8. If the AK governor and a sitting senator want the restrictions lifted, who is Trump to deny them. The unemployment rate in Alaska is double the rest of the country. The feds control over 60% of the land in AK. That is not very “free”.

    1. SK, see how free it feels when Weyerhauser owns it. We own it, it is free for our use, and it’s not for sale.

      1. They produce timber, which is useful activity. We’ll all feel just fine. If they can make some cash on ecotourism, they’ll do that too.

        You have an enormous inventory of state and federal parkland to play in already.

  9. Generally I find Mr. Turley informed and thoughtful. He may be right about the poor policy implications of logging the Tongass National Forest. However, Mr. Turley in his posting repeatedly conflates national parks and national forests. I cannot find a Tongass National Park. National forests by statue are administered differently and reguired to be managed for much broader purposes. Sometimes recreation, sometimes private livestock grazing and sometimes logging. That’s why President Obama can order one thing and President Trump can reverse it. Btw, both might be right in this case.

  10. The latest is a move to remove logging restrictions on one of the most pristine and unique national parks: the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest with some 16.7 million acres. It was always viewed as a park to preserve undisturbed and natural areas from developers

    No, it was not. If it had been viewed as a park, it would have been transferred to the National Park Service or the Fish and Wildlife Service, or, perhaps, the state parks authority in Alaska.

    It’s owned by the Forest Service. The Forest Service’s job is the maintenance of timberland. It’s in the Agriculture Department because the trees are crops.

    1. That’s a good point. Under that purview, land is viewed as a resource to be managed – timber, grazing, and mineral. It’s the “resource” part of natural resources that the modern generation is not aware of.

      1. It’s the “resource” part of natural resources that the modern generation is not aware of.

        That’s because they are right brain thinkers and cannot be bothered with such complex details.

      2. But, the IRREPLACEABLE resources of pristine land, lack of pollution, old-growth trees, breathtaking unspoiled vistas, wildlife, clean air, water, and removal of carbon dioxide are more important, and benefit everyone on the planet, instead of a few Republicans who’d sell their own mother to make a buck. Timber, grazing, mining, etc. can be done elsewhere.

        1. Old growth forest accounts for about 2% of all Forest Service landholdings.

    2. “The Tongass National Forest /ˈtɒŋɡəs/ in Southeast Alaska is the largest national forest in the United States at 16.7 million acres (68,000 km2). Most of its area is part of the temperate rain forest WWF ecoregion, itself part of the larger Pacific temperate rain forest WWF ecoregion, and is remote enough to be home to many species of endangered and rare flora and fauna. The Tongass, which is managed by the United States Forest Service, encompasses islands of the Alexander Archipelago, fjords and glaciers, and peaks of the Coast Mountains. An international border with Canada (British Columbia) runs along the crest of the Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains.[2] …

      The Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve was established by Theodore Roosevelt in a presidential proclamation of 20 August 1902. Another presidential proclamation made by Roosevelt, on 10 September 1907, created the Tongass National Forest. On 1 July 1908, the two forests were joined, and the combined forest area encompassed most of Southeast Alaska. Further presidential proclamations of 16 February 1909 (in the last months of the Roosevelt administration) and 10 June, and in 1925 (by Calvin Coolidge) expanded the Tongass. ….

      The Tongass Timber Reform Act, enacted in 1990, significantly reshaped the logging industry’s relationship with the Tongass National Forest. The law’s provisions cancelled a $40 million annual subsidy for timber harvest; established several new wilderness areas and closed others to logging; and required that future cutting under the 50-year pulp contracts be subject to environmental review and limitations on old-growth harvest…..

      Alaska Wilderness League describes the Tongass as “one of the last remaining intact temperate rainforests in the world”.[27] 70,000 people inhabit the region.[26] While the timber industry dominated the economy for a long time, the region has transitioned into “non-timber… [sources of revenue] such as recreation, subsistence food, salmon, scientific use, and carbon sequestration [which] contributes more than $2 billion” annually.[26] Tourism supports over 10,000 jobs in the Tongass National Forest, with about 10% being related to fishing activities.[27]…”

      If Trump wants to reward more big donors, he should ask Congress to revisit the Tongass Timber Reform Act of 1990.

  11. It is not clear what interests succeeded in getting the intervention of the President.

    You don’t know? Then your default position Mr. Constitutionalist should be to recognize Alaska’s sovereignty over it’s land management. Maybe they want to do things to increase tourism, even for those knuckleheads that go on hikes, fall down and can’t get out without rescue services.

  12. While writing twice on a woman who slapped someone, JT overlooked new Endangered Species rules issued by our Commissar in Chief last week.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved on Monday to weaken how it applies the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act, ordering changes that critics said will speed the loss of animals and plants at a time of record global extinctions .

    Thank God our GOP overlords are on guard against executive actions ever since Obama and zealously protect .Congressional powers.

    1. Perhaps Democrats should have spoken out against Obama’s executive overreach.

        1. Professor Turley has posted extensively on President Obama’s imperial presidency.

          Here are a few that come to mind:
          Extrajudicial killings of American citizens, one being 16-years-old

          DACA (this is Congresses job to implement, not to be done by executive order)–even SNL criticized it

          Libyan intervention

          Auto Bailout

          Clean Power Plan (even Professor Larry Tribe was bothered by that one)

          Not to mention the perpetuated problems of the NSA spying on Americans.

          1. Obama did not purposefully kill any 16 year olds, though like virtually every president we’ve ever had – including Trump who ended an Obama policy of disclosing the estimated numbers – was responsible for “collateral” killed and wounded. He did purposefully kill an American cleric who was about 30 in a foreign country – Yemen I believe – who was involved in numerous terrorist attacks on the US and our citizens. While he has been criticized for that – not by me – this is the 1st I have heard anyone claim this was an “executive action”..

            DACA was based on the long standing constitutional principal that the executive branch has the inherent power to most effectively use it’s alloted resources for the enforcement of laws enacted by Congress. In this case, Obama wisely decided that with 11 million estimated undocumented immigrants in the US – a number we lack both the resources and political will to expel – he should most efficiently target criminal and dangerous illegals, while keeping track of non-criminal – and in this case mostly law abiding juvenile – immigrants by incentivizing them to be productive members of society. I fully agree with that policy and compared to usurping the Congressional power of the purse for example as Trump has done – find it constitutional under the principle I described above. A GOP appointed judge, who’s district the GOP picked out in their suit, found otherwise.

            Libya was a military action – done under UN approval – much like those every modern president – including Trump – has taken. It is valid to object to this now common occurrence, but not as something unique or boundary stretching by Obama.

            NSA was enacted by Congress prior to Obama and he had virtually no control over it’s actions. There is nothing related to an alleged executive action in that .

            1. Anon1,
              “He did purposefully kill an American cleric who was about 30 in a foreign country – Yemen I believe – who was involved in numerous terrorist attacks on the US and our citizens. While he has been criticized for that – not by me – this is the 1st I have heard anyone claim this was an “executive action”..”

              I did not call it an executive as action, I called it executive overreach. If someone commits a crime, they are entitled to a trial before the law with a jury of their peers. If found guilty, then the sentence is determined by a judge and implemented. The President does not get to wrap that all into one and decide that someone should be killed for inflammatory speech.

              I will try to address the others later today. My schedule is heating up.

              1. By your reasoning, enemy combatants who were born here would have to be captured and brought here to trial. I think that is ridiculous.

                1. Anon1,
                  “enemy combatants who were born here would have to be captured and brought here to trial. I think that is ridiculous.”

                  There is Trial in absentia. There are small provisions for such a trial, since, in general, it violates the 5th Amendment.

                  The path President Obama choose absolutely violated al-Awlaki’s 5th Amendment rights as an American citizen.

                  Yemen, of which he was a dual-citizen, gave him a trial in absentia. Yikes, the United States was out-done by Yemen in terms of respecting a person’s natural rights.

                  The Harvard Law School’s National Security Journal wrote about this very matter.

                  “The Fifth Amendment guarantee of Due Process must mean more than what it seems to have meant in this case–secret meetings between unidentified lawyers and invisible policymakers in a locked and highly secure room and a secret memo leading to the death of an American citizen.”


                  al-Awlaki’s father attempted to follow the route of trial in absentia, but he was rebuffed (there is a link at the aforementioned article to discussion of this.

                  You indicate that you are someone on the Left, yet you seem to have abandoned your historical defense of civil liberties.

                  1. Prairie, an enemy combatant has abandoned any claims to US civil rights. I celebrate al-Awaki’s killing and encourage killing anyone else like him.

                    1. “Prairie, an enemy combatant has abandoned any claims to US civil rights.”

                      Tunnel vision. First one requires a hearing to determine if he is an enemy combatant and then a hearing to determine exactly what trights he has given up. Anon forgets a lot of steps when trying to prove how “American” you are.

                    2. “…In a letter dated May 22, 2013, to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee, Patrick J. Leahy, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder wrote that

                      high-level U.S. government officials […] concluded that al-Aulaqi posed a continuing and imminent threat of violent attack against the United States. Before carrying out the operation that killed al-Aulaqi, senior officials also determined, based on a careful evaluation of the circumstances at the time, that it was not feasible to capture al-Aulaqi. In addition, senior officials determined that the operation would be conducted consistent with applicable law of war principles, including the cardinal principles of (1) necessity – the requirement that the target have definite military value; (2) distinction – the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted; (3) proportionality – the notion that the anticipated collateral damage of an action cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage; and (4) humanity – a principle that requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering. The operation was also undertaken consistent with Yemeni sovereignty. [… ] The decision to target Anwar al-Aulaqi was lawful, it was considered, and it was just.[231]

                      On April 21, 2014, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the Obama administration must release documents justifying its drone killings of foreigners and Americans, including Anwar al-Awlaki.[232] In June 2014, the United States Department of Justice disclosed a 2010 memorandum[233] written by the acting head of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, David Barron.[234][235] The memo stated that Anwar al-Awlaki was a significant threat with an infeasible probability of capture. Barron therefore justified the killing as legal, as “the Constitution would not require the government to provide further process”.[45] The New York Times Editorial Board dismissed the memo’s rationale for al-Awlaki’s killing, saying it “provides little confidence that the lethal action was taken with real care”, instead describing it as “a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result.”[236] A lawyer for the ACLU described the memo as “disturbing” and “ultimately an argument that the president can order targeted killings of Americans without ever having to account to anyone outside the executive branch.”[237]…”

                      I remain in favor of killing US citizens who behave as al Awaki as enemy combatants.

                    3. “I remain in favor of killing US citizens who behave as al Awaki as enemy combatants.”

                      Anon you favor almost unrestricted immigration of illegal aliens who kill American citizens.

                    4. “Allan’a statement is false.”

                      I’m not sure what you are finding false. First I said: “Tunnel vision. First one requires a hearing to determine if he is an enemy combatant and then a hearing to determine exactly what trights he has given up. Anon forgets a lot of steps when trying to prove how “American” you are.” Then I reply to his statement: “I remain in favor of killing US citizens…” to which I replied: “Anon you favor almost unrestricted immigration of illegal aliens who kill American citizens.”

                      It’s amazing Anon has tunnel vision regarding American’s rights but when it comes to illegal immigrants we don’t hear concern about the rights of Americans or even their rights to be safe. Is Anon anti-American?

                    5. Anon1,
                      Then you abandon the 5th Amendment and the rule of law at your peril. He was guilty of inflammatory and, essentially, treason. He still deserves a trial in absentia at least.

                    6. Prairie Rose, leftists like Anon wish to twist the law any which way they want and then want to be able to twist it back. That is precisely the cause of our recent problems that have been looked into and at present are being released. Too many people think they are above the law and too many people wish to twist the law to obtain their desired results.

                    7. Prairie, by your reasoning, an attacking US citizen who had joined the other side – that is what al Awaki did – could not be killed in action without destroying the constitution. That is not logical.

                      Al Awaki was active in promoting, enabling, and training terrorists who killed US citizens.


                    8. Prairie Rose, Anon’s tunnel vision doesn’t let him realize that there is a difference in being killed on the battlefield and being targeted for assassination

                    9. Anon1,
                      “A lawyer for the ACLU described the memo as “disturbing” and “ultimately an argument that the president can order targeted killings of Americans without ever having to account to anyone outside the executive branch.”[237]…”

                      Yep, the ACLU has it right here.

                      I disagree with Barron and Holder, they rationalized the desired actions of the Executive Branch. They did not follow the rule of law and ignored the 5th Amendment.

                      Trial in absentia–there are limited provisions for its use. The reason not to conduct a trial in absentia is because it effectually violates the 5th Amendment.

                      President Obama acted as though the 5th Amendment does not exist, and, acted as though there is no rule of law. It was an extrajudicial killing.

                      Liberals (or conservatives, for that matter) did not howl in outrage at this failure to uphold the rule of law.

                      Shouldn’t violating the rule of law in this manner have provoked cries of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’? He swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and did not in an egregious manner.

                      That doesn’t even get into the 4th Amendment violations from the NSA spying.

                    1. Anon1,
                      Mass murderers still get a trial. Trial in absentia would at least follow the rule of law. When the government, particularly the president, ignores the law, it undermines faith in the whole process.

                      I have no problem with al-Awlaki’s death. It is the manner in which he was killed that I am disputing. There is a process that must be followed. Hearings, trials, sentence.

                      If the evidence was strong against him that he had committed treason, then he would surely have been found guilty at a trial in absentia.

                      The Mechanical Hound was unleashed. What does that do to the rest of society when the president can decide, at will, who will be deemed an ‘enemy combatant’ and who is not?

                      This mess is complicated by the AUMF and what is deemed ‘a battlefield’, as well as the military actions not authorized by Congress via the War Powers.

                  2. We disagree Prairie.

                    Obama also took an oath to defend and protect the US, which he did by having Al Awaki killed.


                    1. Anon1,
                      Like I said, I am not sad he is dead. It is the manner by which he was targeted for assassination that I have a problem.

                      To defend and protect the US, the president gets to follow a limited set of actions. He is not allowed to do things at will, that is why Congress holds the War Powers and makes treaties.

                      The larger picture of defending and protecting the Constitution is to not violate it.

    2. The Endangered Species Act is exploited by the usual nuisances to disrupt local real estate development. They find some dime-sized weed they claim exists nowhere else.

      1. Yes, and the last thing we want is to disrupt real estate development. F..k those bald eagles and whooping cranes.

        1. The last thing you want to do is get down to cases.

          While we’re at it, residential and commercial tract development accounts for < 5% of the land area in the United States.

          1. As if that meant anything, given that the other 95% includes deserts, swamps, mountains, prairie, and salt marsh. Hey, by weight I’ll bet humans make up less than .0000001% of the earths surface and crust, so what’s all this noise about overpopulation?

              1. Yeah, well your <5% talking point – you get that from commercial realtor's match book? – was a real gem of simple minded stupidity. I wouldn't call it an education.

                  1. That’s not “making use” of data. Only a fool would think it significant regarding our impact on the environment, oft times to our own detriment.

                    1. If you want to play status games, you have to know something. You don’t and we know you don’t.

  13. The last time I looked, Tongass National Forest was in Alaska. This is a states rights issue. If you don’t live there, please refrain from telling the residents what to do. The people of Alaska get to decide, not you or some bureaucrat several thousand miles away. I read that the stare government is involved in any decision. Do you really think the residents want to destroy their state? I don’t.

    1. The property is owned by a federal agency, for better or for worse. You want the decisions made by the Alaska legislature, you have to transfer title. You want them made by private landholders, you have to auction it off. (Just remember what is the optimal tax regime for forest land).

  14. Why does he get to make that decision? I thought there was a balance of powers? Did Congress hand that over to the Executive branch at some point? The legacy of allowing an imperial presidency, perhaps?

    Well, folks, this is your government, start using your voices to help better direct governance.

  15. President Barf is a myopic moron surrounded by religious wackos who pretend we have dominion over nature. So this is what we get.

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