Comment Letter on Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy


October 18, 2021

Alaska Regional Office
PO Box 21628
709 W. 9th Street
Juneau, AK 99802-1628

RE:  Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy

To whom it may concern,

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing to comment on the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy.

RDC is a statewide trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently launched the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy with the goal of investing federal dollars in the region, identifying diverse investment opportunities using an inclusive path by listening to local voices, with an overall outcome goal of developing a more diverse economy and enhanced community resilience.

RDC shares much or many of these goals, however RDC opposes two of the four primary components of the strategy: ending large-scale, old-growth timber harvest, and restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule protections. RDC has long supported the sustainable harvesting of timber in the Tongass National Forest and has supported every effort to overturn the Roadless Rule. 

It is also important to point out that in your list of key opportunity categories one key category was missing: mining. Mining has long been a part of the history and economy of the Southeast region, and Alaska as a whole, and continues to provide family-wage jobs to numerous residents.  The mining sector is also currently engaged with USDA on mineral exploration projects across the region which makes collaboration and inclusion in this strategy deeply critical. 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this matter.