Federal judge sides with Alaska village and reinstates roadless rule in Tongass

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Anchorage has sided with the village of Kake and reinstated the roadless rule in the Tongass National Forest.

The Organized Village of Kake sought to end the Bush administration decision that exempted the Tongass from the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. The rule protects roadless areas in national forests from commercial logging and road building.

U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick on Friday reinstated the roadless rule in the Tongass, finding the exemption was arbitrary and capricious, but didn't vacate three timber sales authorized under the exemption. He says that decision is left to the Agriculture secretary.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says the decision means that the Tongass will be managed by a "cookie-cutter rule" imposed on all national forests and not one specific to the Tongass.