Three new players have joined in the lawsuit between the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the United States Forest Service over the future of the East Reservoir timber sale.

Lincoln County and the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition have officially joined the suit as defendant-intervenors, while Montana’s Attorney General Tim Fox has filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the case.

The two sales already awarded within the project amount to nearly 2,000 acres with a production estimate of nine million board-feet of timber in the next five years. The East Reservoir project is expected to produce a total of 39 million board-feet over the course of several years.

The Helena-based group filed the suit against the Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service, the Kootenai National Forest and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, alleging the defendants failed to adequately consider impacts to threatened grizzly bear, lynx and bull trout habitats and populations.

The county and the stakeholders’ group, in conjunction with the American Forest Resource Council of Portland, Ore., contracted Missoula-based attorneys Carl Mendenhall and Matt Cuffe of Worden Thane to function as local representation and co-lead counsel on the matter. Cuffe is a Libby native and has recently announced his intention to seek election to Montana’s 19th Judicial District Court in Lincoln County when Judge James Wheelis retires next year.

From The Western News: