The Wrangell Borough Assembly voted Tuesday against further intervention in a lawsuit to support the Big Thorne Timber Sale on Prince of Wales Island.

Last year, Wrangell paid $5,000 to join Craig, Ketchikan and a few private businesses in opposing conservation groups that were trying to stop the timber sale. The court ruled in favor of the timber sale and the municipalities. Now, conservation groups are taking the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Some businesses and municipalities are paying an extra $3,000 to intervene in the appeal process. They want to make sure the U.S. Forest Service sale of 95 million board feet between Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove goes through.

The Wrangell Borough Assembly rejected the additional $3,000 payment and further intervention in a 4-2 vote.

Assembly Member Stephen Prysunka said he does not want to see timber sales that don’t allow for adding value and creating jobs in Southeast Alaska.

“I would much rather see us hold on to that $3,000 for an innovative project in our own community that involves local labor. And building an industry up that takes our resource, we extract it out, and we extract the maximum benefit from those trees,” Prysunka said. “And they don’t get loaded on a barge to go overseas.”

Some assembly members said last year they wanted to support this timber sale because of its potential to affect future cuts, including the proposed Wrangell Island sale. The Forest Service is still working on a potential sale of 68 to 175 million board feet of timber on the island.

Assembly Member Julie Decker said private businesses will not invest in the timber industry unless they are guaranteed a shot at timber sales on the Tongass National Forest.

“I don’t mean we go back to the heyday of logging in Southeast,” Decker said. “But return to a sustainable amount of renewable resource harvesting in a responsible way. And give those signals to private business that they can then build a plan that they can invest in, and actually then create jobs in our communities.”

Assembly Members Julie Decker and Becky Rooney voted to intervene in the appeal process. Stephen Prysunka, Daniel Blake, Mark Mitchell and Mayor David Jack voted against further intervention.