14 Dec 2007, 4:46pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

Challenge of logging project rejected

By Nick Gevock, of The Montana Standard - 12/14/2007

A logging project in the upper West Madison River drainage will continue following a federal judge’s rejection of environmental groups’ request that it be halted.

Missoula Federal District Judge Donald Molloy this week threw out a request for an injunction to halt the Cow Fly timber sale on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Madison County. Molloy said in court records that the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council, the groups challenging the project, had little chance of winning their case and therefore the project could proceed.

“Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood that they will succeed on the merits of their (National Environmental Policy Act) claim,” he said.

The injunction means the 242-acre project, which is well under way, will likely be completed. Mark Petroni, Madison District ranger for the forest, has said it was expected to be completed by the end of the year.

But despite that, Michael Garrity of the Alliance said they plan to appeal the injunction request to the Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals. That’s because the lawsuit, which is still pending, raises questions about the Forest Service following its own rules and federal law that would set a precedent for future cases.

“There are bigger issues,” he said. “We accused them of violating the forest plan, so the issue isn’t moot if it’s all cut.” The project called for logging dead and dying Douglas fir up Meridian Creek, a tributary of the West Madison River. The Forest Service required R and R Connor, from Connor, to use helicopters to remove the logs, and less than half a mile of temporary road to be built.

The size of the project at less than 250 acres allowed the Forest Service to use a “categorical exclusion” from a thorough environmental analysis of its effects… [more]

14 Dec 2007, 4:50pm
by Mike

Note: this article was brought to our attention by SOSF stalwart Forrest Grump, who comments:

And the gravy train rolls on. Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council are about to cash in their EAJA chips yet again.



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