USDA Pauses Activity in Roadless Areas

On February 1, 2021, the Biden administration put a temporary stop to road construction and logging in roadless areas of national forests while officials decide whether the work is consistent with environmental and climate policy goals. In a memorandum to the Forest Service, the USDA explained that roadless-area proposals and other pending decisions must be elevated to higher levels at USDA for review by February 12. The directive could affect or reverse the decision by the previous administration to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which prohibits tree harvest and road construction within certain protected areas.  The Tongass is the largest national forest in the United States, and is thought to play a significant role in storing carbon.