JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The federal government has withdrawn an appeal of a court ruling stopping one of the largest old-growth timber sales in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. CoastAlaska reported this week that the U.S. Justice Department planned to pursue the case in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but reversed course and withdrew the case Oct. 20. Environmentalists called the government’s decision a victory that spares more than 36 square miles of old-growth forest from potential clear cutting across Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska. Timber industry representatives say they supported the project that could supply the region’s mills with timber and provide jobs.