Watchdog to probe whether USFS grants to timber industry group lobbied for timber cuts on Tongass NF

The internal watchdog at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has agreed to lawmakers’ request to investigate whether grants from the agency funded efforts to lobby for reduced protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

Democrats in the House and Senate asked for the investigation in November after reports in Alaska media that a $2 million federal grant to help prepare for potential changes in forest protections was, in part, funneled to the Alaska Forest Association, a timber industry group.

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