The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) Indigenous Women’s Tongass Delegation from Alaska are in Washington DC to advocate for the protection of over nine million acres of Alaska’s rainforest.
The delegation is also advocating for the continuation of the Roadless Rule, an important measure to protect Alaska's Tongass National Forest, which falls within the traditional territories of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Peoples.
Recently, the Trump administration published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), proposing the repeal of Roadless Rule protections across the Tongass National Forest, which would open the region to industrial logging and mining interests, enabling further clear-cutting of old growth forests and threatening the livelihoods of Indigenous and local communities.
The Tongass is the world’s largest remaining intact temperate forest, housing over 400 species of land and marine wildlife, and providing economic opportunity to thousands of residents.
As parts of Alaska are warming at roughly twice the rate of the rest of the planet, maintaining an intact Tongass ecosystem is critical to providing climate change solutions for the US and international climate efforts.
Climate scientists agree, forests are critical for stabilizing the climate, sequestering carbon, and providing refuge for unique bio-diverse ecosystems.
The WECAN Indigenous Women’s Tongass Delegation will meet with Congress, committee staff, USDA, the Forest Service and participate in a public hearing on 14 November from 4:30 - 6:30pm at The Holiday Inn Washington Capitol to address current attacks on forest protections, their ancestral homelands, and the global climate.
The 14 November hearing is the only public hearing the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service will hold outside of the State of Alaska on the proposed Roadless Rule exemption in the Tongass National Forest. View event details.
In addition to the WECAN Indigenous Women's Tongass Delegation in Washington D.C., other Native Alaskan women leaders will represent the Delegation at a public hearing in their home of Hoonah on 14 November, Alaska. They will provide testimony and statements in support of the Roadless Rule and the Tongass.
This article is based on a press release from WECAN.
Image: United States Forest Service, Wikimedia.