In early November Petersburg’s borough assembly voted to send a letter to the chief of the U.S. Forest Service asking for information on Tongass National Forest timber sales. The letter cites a 2016 review by staff in the Forest Service’s Washington office that detailed problems with oversight and administration of timber sales. The internal review was published by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, a nationwide watchdog group based in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Petersburg borough sought information about any follow-up the federal agency is doing in light of that review.
The Forest Service’s new top official in Alaska regional forester Dave Schmid says his agency has sent a response to Petersburg. As of late December, the borough has yet to receive any response.
Coastalaska’s Jacob Resneck spoke with Schmid in Juneau this month and asked about Petersburg’s letter to his agency, along with plans for four timber sales near Petersburg and Ketchikan blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court last month.
Two of those four sales in litigation are near Petersburg, the Overlook sale on Mitkof Island and Scott Peak on Kupreanof Island. The other two are Soda Nick on Prince of Wales and Traitor’s Cove north of Ketchikan. The Washington office review looked at the Big Thorne timber sale on Prince of Wales and the Tonka sale on Kupreanof.