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Michael Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936

The Federal District Court in Missoula ruled yesterday for four conservation groups, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Swan View Coalition, Friends of the Wild Swan, and Native Ecosystems Council, in their lawsuit challenging the Glacier Loon Timber Sale near Lindbergh Lake in the Swan Valley.

The Federal District Court in Missoula ordered that Summary judgment be granted in favor of Plaintiffs on their claims: (1) the Nature Conservancy can no longer log the former Plum Creek lands that are now part of the Flathead National Forest without complying with NEPA and the ESA. (2) the agency’s “no effect” determination for bull trout and water howellia is arbitrary and capricious; (3) the agencies violated the ESA when they failed to follow the necessary procedures after reaching a “may affect” conclusion for the wolverine; and (4) the numerical objectives under Amendment 19 apply to predominantly National Forest System lands even if they are subject to reserved logging rights.

Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said, “Amendment 19 limits the amount of open and total roads in grizzly bear habitat and guarantees that 68% of grizzly bear habitat must be a secure area without roads. Most grizzly bears are killed near roads.”

Garrity said, “More logging roads leads to more dead grizzly bears and less elk. Most grizzly bears are killed near roads and roads lead to a decline in elk numbers. The Swan Valley has seen elk numbers decline as logging has increased. It is time to say no to more road building and clearcuts.”

Garrity continued, The American people paid the Nature Conservancy $250,000,000 for the former Plum Creek land in the Swan Valley but the Forest Service continued to let the Nature Conservancy illegally clear cut over 6000 acres of grizzly bear and bull trout habitat in the last 4 years. The judge ordered this logging stopped and said these Forest Service lands have to be managed under Federal Environmental laws to protect native species just like all other National Forests.”

Garrity concluded. “It’s unfortunate that we had to once again take the federal government to court to force them to follow the law but wehad no other choice if we want to conserve the last remaining habitat for bull trout, grizzly bears, lynx and other old growth dependent wildlife since the Forest Service insists on being serial law breakers.”

Please see the attached Judge’s order.

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