ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Trump administration and Alaska officials are taking steps to allow more roads in national forests within the state.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday it has signed an agreement with the state to work toward an Alaska version of the nation’s “roadless rule.”

Environmental groups say the proposal would sacrifice old-growth timber and wildlife to support a heavily subsidized timber industry that exports raw timber and supports jobs overseas.

The current rule prohibits road construction and timber harvest in areas inventoried without roads. Alaska petitioned for a full exemption.

Inventoried roadless areas in Alaska include 14,845 square miles (38,450 million sq. kilometers), or 57 percent, of the Tongass National Forest, the nation’s largest, and 8,437 square miles (21,850 million sq. kilometers), or 99 percent, of the Chugach National Forest.

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