Court temporarily blocks western Montana logging project


    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday granted an injunction to the conservation groups that requested the Glacier Loon project near Condon be halted. - Julia Moore

    The Latest on logging projects being halted by court orders:

    A judge has blocked a project that called for logging and prescribed burning in the Elkhorn Mountains near Townsend.

    U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Tuesday ruled in favor of two conservation groups that sued to stop the project to cut conifer trees on 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) and burn another 2 square miles (5 square kilometers).

    The Independent Record reports the project also called for allowing livestock grazing when other grazing allotments are unavailable due to circumstances such as drought or wildfire.

    Watters sided with the groups' argument that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management failed to completely analyze the cumulative effects of the project along with others in the areas.

    The judge ruled for the federal agency on four other challenges.

    She ordered the BLM to prepare a supplemental environmental analysis.

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    10:25 a.m.

    A federal appeals court has blocked a western Montana logging project while it considers a lawsuit that claims the project could harm threatened species.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday granted an injunction to the conservation groups that requested the Glacier Loon project near Condon be halted.

    The groups say the project includes 2 square miles (5 square kilometers) of logging, building nearly 6 miles (10 kilometers) of new temporary roads and reopening 16 miles (26 kilometers) of previously closed roads.

    They say U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn't properly analyze the project's potential harm to threatened grizzly bears and the habitat of wolverines and threatened Canada lynx.

    Attorneys representing the U.S. Forest Service say the project would reduce wildfire threats. A U.S. district judge previously ruled in favor of the project.

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