Excerpt: “HAMILTON – A former Ravalli County attorney is challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s user fee requirement at the popular Lake Como Recreation Area.
George Corn said the agency isn’t following the law when it requires people not using developed amenities in the recreation area to pay a fee to park their car to go hiking, fishing or berry picking. Forest Service officials disagree with Corn’s interpretation and say they have made adjustments to meet changes handed down by a recent court ruling….”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/former-ravalli-county-attorney-challenging-lake-como-user-fees/article_49b6a098-c0cc-11e2-bae3-0019bb2963f4.html
Excerpt: “A coalition of environmental groups have sued to block a U.S. Forest Service timber sale in the Rexford Ranger District of northwest Montana, claiming the proposed clearcuts would hurt lynx and grizzly bears there.
“In spite of these falling grizzly bear numbers, the Forest Service plans to commercially log thousands of acres, open up roads, and use low-level helicopter flights in occupied grizzly habitat,” said Michael Garrity of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “It’s well-known science that low-level overflights by helicopters harm and harass grizzly bears in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Even though we cited the law, judicial opinions, and the agency’s own policies that ban such activities, the Forest Service refused to listen. So now we’re compelled to go to court.” …”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/environmental-groups-sue-to-block-kootenai-forest-timber-sale/article_ffcfd8e4-bcfe-11e2-95e4-001a4bcf887a.html
Helena Independent Record 5/12/2013
Excerpt: “Grizzly bears lack a reputation as a rule-following animal, but they sure inspire a lot of rule-making.
The bears of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem have a draft 158-page rulebook up for public comment this summer as they move toward possible removal from federal Endangered Species Act protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan describes how roughly 1,000 grizzlies in that area would be managed, protected and restricted. It’s up for public comment through August. …”
Read entire article at http://helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/feds-work-to-remove-protections-from-northern-rockies-grizzlies/article_96f909a6-bb39-11e2-a81b-0019bb2963f4.html
Summit County Voice 4/18/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal land managers could get wider authority for more backcountry logging under a new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by three western senators: Mark Udall (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Max Baucus (D-MT).
The National Forest Insect and Disease Treatment Act is being pitched as a way to help Forest Service treat insect and disease epidemics and promote overall forest health. As drafted, it directs the agency to treat threatened watersheds while prioritizing preservation of old-growth and large trees when possible. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/04/18/environment-can-forest-health-be-legislated/
Spokseman Review 4/11/2013
Excerpt: “A Montana court ruling has added a legal roadblock to plans by a Spokane company to develop a large silver and copper mine in northwest Montana, including a portion that bores under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.
Following a court process that began in 2007, a judge in Lincoln County, Mont., ruled that Mines Management Inc. and its Libby-based subsidiary, Montanore Minerals, cannot use sections of its existing mine entrance for its planned Montanore Project. …”
Read entire article at http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/apr/11/ruling-stalls-montana-mining-project/
Excerpt: “In U.S. Forest Service-speak, we’re switching from a 215 to a 218. The difference in digits determines how and when someone can protest a timber sale or a road decommissioning, or any other Forest Service project that needs an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment.
Under rule 215, you appeal the decision after it’s announced. Under rule 218, you object before the decision is made. “The idea is we can sit down together and work out the issues,” said Ray Smith, Forest Service Region 1 objections and appeals coordinator. “It’s really important – the work together part. …”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/local/forest-service-change-aims-to-resolve-project-objections-earlier/article_8b033b74-a18c-11e2-bd84-0019bb2963f4.html
Excerpt: “MISSOULA – The parties fighting over the statue of Christ on Big Mountain are still waiting for a federal judge to decide whether the case will go to trial, or be settled without a hearing. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is fighting the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to renew the permit for the small statue that was placed on the summit of Big Mountain in the early 1950s.
The Knights of Columbus maintain the statue was erected to honor veterans who served in World War 2. But FFRF argues it’s actually a religious shrine and shouldn’t be allowed on federal property. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.kpax.com/news/parties-wait-on-judge-for-next-step-in-fight-over-jesus-statue/
Bozeman Daily Chronicle 3/21/2013
Excerpt: “An environmental group is suing for a second time to stop a timber sale in the Hebgen Basin. On Wednesday, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Missoula to stop the Forest Service from moving forward on its Lonesome Wood II Timber Sale.
Washington Post 3/14/2013
Excerpt: “BILLINGS, Mont. — Thirteen years after the government listed Canada lynx as a threatened species, wildlife advocates on Thursday asked a federal judge to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to finish its long-awaited recovery plan for the snow-loving wild cats.
Four groups represented by the Western Environmental Law Center allege the long delay on the part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violates federal law. …”
Read entire article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/delay-in-recovery-plan-for-imperiled-canada-lynx-recovery-plan-spurs-federal-lawsuit/2013/03/14/692d1232-8cfa-11e2-adca-74ab31da3399_story.html
Excerpt: “The U.S. Forest Service expects to shoulder $212 million in sequestration cuts this year, but no one can say how that might play out at the local level. Forest Service Region 1 spokeswoman Elizabeth Sloan said Monday all requests for information were being referred to the Washington, D.C., press office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
An email from that office provided a Feb. 5 letter from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to the Senate Appropriations Committee outlining the agency’s general plans. …..”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/local/usfs-budget-cuts-likely-to-affect-fire-forest-management/article_5784b01a-854a-11e2-a03b-001a4bcf887a.html