A Montana federal judge has ruled that the Gallatin National Forest can log certain sections of trees that were burned in the Millie Fire two years ago.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen of Missoula ruled that two environmental groups failed to prove their points as to why the Gallatin National Forest shouldn’t be allowed to log trees along Forest Service roads that were burned in the 2012 Millie Fire along Storm Castle Creek in the Gallatin Canyon. The Millie Fire burned about 10,000 acres in the Storm Castle Creek drainage.
Last August, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council sued the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, claiming the proposed logging project could harm two endangered species, the grizzly bear and the lynx. They argued that the Forest Service violated portions of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to analyze how projects might affect public land and the species living there.
After granting that the plaintiffs had sufficient although shaky standing to challenge the project, Christensen concluded they failed to prove any of their allegations.
In April 2013, the Forest Service approved the Millie Roadside Hazard Tree Removal Project, which authorized the removal of dead or dying trees along 15 miles of road.
From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/article_e004c688-f1bd-11e3-906f-0019bb2963f4.html