Obama administration wants to undo cuts to forest management

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(CNN) – The former Obama administration is aiming to reverse a policy on global warming in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the birthplace of the US wild west, officials with the Obama team told CNN.

The reversal would return nearly $22 million in funding from the Trump administration to the forest agency charged with overseeing it, the Forest Service, CNN has learned.

Former President Barack Obama had directed the agency to restore forest health and restoration efforts that were being cut by the previous administration, according to an Obama administration official. That directive was last month joined by former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker.

“The new directive has the Forest Service returning to the original 2015 plan — which calls for restoring critical habitat for salmon, helping to restore compromised ground cover for wildlife, and directing rehabilitation of motorized trails,” the official said.

Alaska’s congressional delegation and Gov. Mike Dunleavy criticized the previous administration for its move, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

“It is shameful that the Obama administration is returning funding that has been taken from the Tongass National Forest to the federal treasury,” Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a statement. “This budget shortchanging is a direct assault on the health of our forests, one of the state’s top industries. This absurd move to circumvent the normal budgeting process has no scientific basis.”

Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan called the Obama move an “ill-conceived experiment” and “an abdication of state oversight to the feds,” the newspaper reported.

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