By BECKY BOHRER Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The federal government has announced plans to lift restrictions on building roads and logging in a pristine rainforest in Alaska that provides habitat for wolves, bears and salmon. Conservation groups vowed to fight the decision. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that it’s decided to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the so-called roadless rule. Tongass is the country’s largest national forest and one of the largest, relatively intact temperate rainforests in the world. The USDA says it concluded that the change could be done without “major adverse impacts” to recreation, tourism and fishing, while benefiting the timber and mining industries.