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By Mark Moran - Producer-Editor, Contact - News

 

Big Sky Connection - Environmental advocates have sued to stop a massive logging project in southwestern Montana. Work is already underway on 73,000 acres near the Anaconda-Pintler (like "HINT" ler) Wilderness Area. Comments from Mike Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

Click on the image above for the audio. - Environmental advocates contend a logging project bordering Montana's Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Area threatens habitat for the lynx, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. (Adobe Stock)

Mark Moran

March 18, 2024 - The Alliance for the Wild Rockies has sued the U.S. Forest Service over a logging project in southwestern Montana.

The group claims the agency didn't do the necessary environmental impact review.

The project calls for cutting 11 miles of road into an area bordering the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Area so loggers can take almost 11,000 acres of timber.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies Executive Director Mike Garrity said the project threatens prime lynx habitat now and for future generations.

"And lynx are listed as 'threatened' under the Endangered Species Act," said Garrity. "Lynx avoid clearcuts for up to 50 years, and they also avoid roads."

The edge of the Anaconda-Pintler is a prime habitat for grizzly bears, too, which also avoid clear-cuts and are most often killed close to logging roads.

The Forest Service has argued that managing forests by tree thinning helps limit wildfire danger. The suit awaits action in federal court in Missoula.

Garrity argued that the Forest Service violated a federal law requiring a thorough Environmental Impact Statement before starting a project, and discounted work that had already been done in the 115 square mile area.

"The Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service didn't consider the 145 miles of illegal roads in the project area," said Garrity. "They just pretended they didn't exist."

The Forest Service contends it held public meetings during the planning stages.

Garrity said since logging on to the Anaconda-Pintler project has already started, the alliance may sue for an injunction to stop further work while the lawsuit proceeds.

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