MTPR

Forest Project Failed To Account For Roads In Grizzly Habitat, Court Rules

Jul 26, 2018

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of an environmental group challenging a timber and forest thinning project in the Kootenai National Forest.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that that Forest Service, “acted arbitrarily and capriciously,” by failing to determine whether the East Reservoir Project will result in new roads that will exceed a cap on them meant to preserve grizzly bear habitat.

The East Reservoir project is planned for the east side of Lake Koocanusa, approximately 15 miles east of Libby. It includes nearly 9,000 acres of commercial logging, and more than 15,000 acres of forest thinning and fuels and wildfire treatments. The Forest Service says it would produce an estimated 629 jobs.

The court ruling in favor of litigants Alliance for the Wild Rockies sends the project plan back to the Forest Service for modification.