Groups try to intervene in state roadless suit

Posted: Monday, February 26, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Eight conservation groups are attempting to intervene in a state lawsuit to permanently prevent the federal government from implementing the roadless plan in Alaska.

Lawyers from Earthjustice and Natural Resources Defense Council filed the motion to intervene in the case last week in federal court in Anchorage.

''It's shameful that Governor Knowles is ignoring the wishes of so many Alaskans by challenging the forest protection rule in court,'' said Mark Rorick of the Juneau group of the Sierra Club. ''While we believe the legal challenges are politically motivated and flimsy at best we cannot count on the Bush Administration to vigorously defend the policy.''

Chugach Electric Corp., meanwhile, announced it is seeking to join the suit. The Clinton administration plan would ban roadbuilding in nearly 99 percent of the 5.6 million acre Chugach National Forest, the utility said.

Knowles' suit alleges the plan violates public process provisions in numerous federal laws, including the National Forest Management Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

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