2007 Scorecard Vote
At 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest of southeast Alaska is the world's largest remaining old-growth temperate rainforest. Centuries-old trees provide critical habitat for wolves, grizzly bears, wild salmon, and bald eagles. Over the last 45 years, however, the timber industry has cleared more than 1 million acres of old-growth trees from the forest and carved out an estimated 5,000 miles of logging roads. Despite all this activity, the Forest Service has continually lost money on the Tongass logging program, forcing taxpayers to provide subsidies on the order of $40 million a year since 1982. Nevertheless, the Bush administration has worked to open more of the Tongass to logging.
During consideration of H.R. 2643, the Interior-Environment appropriations bill, Representatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced an amendment to end taxpayer subsidies for new commercial logging roads in the Tongass. On June 26, 2007, the House approved the amendment by a 283-145 vote (House roll call vote 563). YES is the pro-environment vote. The repeal of Tongass subsidies was left out of the final Omnibus appropriations bill.