The US president has asked his secretary of state for agriculture to work on a plan to exploit the largest forest in the United States. Trump had accustomed the world to react to everything with shattering and often polemical statements. On the fires currently ravaging the Amazon, the worst was expected.
In the end, the American climate-conservative president remained discreet, except for relatively sober support for Bolsonaro who, according to him, “works hard on fires”. And there may be a reason the Washington Post believes.
In its edition of Tuesday, August 27, the American newspaper reveals that the US president plans to open more than half of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the largest forest in the United States, to logging, mining, and energy use. According to his information, Donald Trump has asked his Secretary of State for Agriculture to work on a plan that will be implemented “later in the year”.
This project will be a major obstacle, the Washington Post points out: the “roadless rule”, a decision made by Bill Clinton a few days before the end of his term in 2011. It prohibits the construction of roads, and by extension prevents the exploitation of 2.3 million square kilometers of virgin forest in the United States.
For nearly 20 years, it has been used to protect the Tongass fauna and flora from deforestation, which benefits from the “roadless rule” over a large part of its surface.
Despite several attempts to call into question, especially under Bush’s mandate, this decision has always been upheld by the federal courts.
The Tongass Forest currently covers 69,000 square kilometers, one-third of the world’s remaining temperate rainforest. Despite protective measures, it is threatened by global warming with a risk of fire multiplication and the development of invasive plants.