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The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) within the Department of Agriculture manages 193 million acres of public forests and grasslands collectively known as the National Forest System. The Tongass National Forest (Tongass) in southeast Alaska is the largest national forest at 16.8 million acres, roughly the size of West
Virginia. Every year, the USFS prepares and conducts sales for the rights to harvest millions of board feet of timber from the Tongass. These sales have historically generated less revenue than the USFS spends to administer them, resulting in large net losses for U.S. taxpayers.
- New budget data reveal that the USFS has continued to lose millions of dollars on Tongass timber sales in recent years. In total, the USFS has lost approximately $600 million over the last twenty years or $30 million per year on average.
- USFS could end up losing more than $180 million in the Tongass over the next four years.
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