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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

U.S. appeals court reverses ruling against Forest Service road closures

Grizzly bear. File photo.

A federal appeals court has reversed a ruling that said the U.S. Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act by harming grizzly bears. It’s not the last challenge to the agency’s policies for closing logging roads.

The U.S. District Court in Missoula previously ruled that the Forest Service wasn’t doing enough to protect grizzlies through the agency’s efforts to block motorized access on decommissioned logging roads.

But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rendered that decision moot because the Forest Service is using a new policy to guide how it closes roads.

The Forest Service applauded the ruling, saying it vindicated the agency. But the Swan View Coalition, one of the plaintiffs in the original case, says the agency is still harming bears by improperly decommissioning roads and another lawsuit is underway.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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