This week’s news was filled with any number of stories of cruelty from the Trump administration. Forcing children born abroad of certain US service members to apply for citizenship rather than automatically granting it. Kicking out children from other countries receiving cancer treatment here. Taking money from FEMA to build a border wall…while a category 4 hurricane is bearing down on Florida.
The news was also filled with horror stories related to climate. Aside from the hurricane, we also learned about massive rainforest fires in the Amazon and Africa, as well as unprecedented fires in Alaska and Sibera. And we learned that the Trump regime wants to roll back rules protecting our environment from the massive amounts of methane released during the oil and natural gas extraction process, putting at risk the release of methane equal to the carbon footprint of an astonishing 69 million cars.
But I want to bring to your attention a lower-profile story that is nonetheless important. The Trump regime is proposing to exempt the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska from what is called the “roadless rule,” a rule that for several decades has prohibited logging (and mining and fracking) in roadless areas like the Tongass. In other words, if Trump gets his way the pristine Tongass will be opened for logging and ruination.
My father lived in Southeast Alaska for much of my childhood and I spent my summers in the Tongass. It’s the largest National Forest in the United States and one of the crown jewels of our shared national heritage. It’s particularly magical and unique because it’s one of the few remaining old-growth forests in North America. The massive, ancient trees of the Tongass have never been logged. Moreover, it’s a temperate rainforest, a rare ecological marvel hosting many species of endangered fauna and unusual flora. A huge percentage of active wild salmon spawning-streams run through the Tongass. There is simply nothing else like it in the United States, and it hosts a million visitors every year.
The Tongass is also critical to climate change. Old growth temperate rainforests like the Tongass capture a tremendous amount of carbon and produce a lot of oxygen. The Tongass alone stores 8% of all the carbon of US forests. And of paramount significance, the Tongass is a very stable forest in a very stable ecosystem not likely to be easily damaged or hindered or altered by climate change.
So why does the Trump regime want to destroy it? Loggers aren’t a big voting bloc and logging companies are certainly not at the top of the Republican donor roll. I suspect it has much more to do with cruelty signalling. Trump’s proposal to log the Tongass, like so many other actions of his corrupt administration, is meant to send a signal to his supporters that he is working hard to anger liberals, to destroy things “coastal elites” hold dear, to give a middle finger to the global warming crowd, and to continue to support the polluting, land-raping industries that his cult worship. Fake men type on computers in offices while real men–real Americans!–destroy the Earth for profit.
In order to destroy the Tongass the Trump administration will have to go through a process that will include public comment. When the time comes, I urge you to send a public comment supporting the protection of the Tongass, if for no other reason than its carbon-capturing significance. The corrupt Trump regime has ignored public comments in other similar instances, but your comments will eventually add ammunition to the lawsuits from environmental groups that will surely follow of Trump tries to open the Tongass to logging. If you ever get a chance to the visit the Tongass you won’t be disappointed.
Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”