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

Judge halts logging project over failure to analyze impacts to grizzlies and lynx

Weyerhaeuser closed its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls last week.
Eric Whitney

A federal judge halted a logging project in northwest Montana on Monday. The court says federal officials didn’t properly evaluate whether the project would harm threatened grizzly bears and Canada lynx.

The Ripley Project on the Kootenai National Forest near Libby would include roughly 11,000 acres of commercial logging and allow for the construction of nearly 20 miles of new roads.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued the U.S. Forest Service over the project, saying the project would harm threatened grizzly bears and Canada lynx.

Montana District Court Judge Dana Christensen ruled that the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service failed to properly analyze how the logging project could harm those species, violating the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws.

Christensen ordered the agencies to reassess the project’s impact in accordance with the law.

The Forest Service declined to comment on the ruling.

Grizzly bear historic and current range.
Lisa Landenburger, USGS - Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Public domain. Sources: IUCN, M. Proctor, Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.
At their peak, grizzly bears numbered more than 50,000 in the Lower 48. They roamed from the West Coast to the Great Plains, from northern Alaska to…

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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