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The Black Ram logging project is the subject of a new lawsuit

Kootenai National Forest sign.
Josh Burnham

Environmental groups sued the Kootenai National Forest today, June 30, over its approval of a controversial logging project in Northwest Montana.

Earlier this month the U.S. Forest Service re-approved the Black Ram project. The project was put on hold in 2020 after a lawsuit forced the federal government to reassess whether the timber sale would severely impact grizzly bears and other threatened species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the project wouldn’t severely impact most protected animals and that harms to grizzly bears could be mitigated.

WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in Missoula District Court arguing that the project will imperil the small grizzly population in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem. The groups also filed an intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service over its findings that grizzly bears wouldn’t be severely harmed.

A request for comment from the Forest Service wasn’t returned by deadline.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.