Environmentalists file federal suit over logging on Montana state forests

2013-03-19T05:00:00Z 2014-03-19T08:38:30Z Environmentalists file federal suit over logging on Montana state forests missoulian.com

A 50-year permit for logging and development on Montana state forests faces a federal lawsuit from environmentalists who say the state won’t do enough to protect threatened grizzly bears or bull trout.

The Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Environmental Information Center and Natural Resources Defense Council sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Missoula’s U.S. District Court on Monday.

They argued the federal agency didn’t look closely enough at the state’s plan for managing more than half a million acres in western Montana.

“This new plan for state lands threatens miles of new roads, narrow logging stream buffers and gravel mines in riparian areas that kill bull trout,” Arlene Montgomery of Friends of the Wild Swan said in an email. “This is a habitat destruction plan, not a habitat conservation plan.”

The challenge involves 548,500 acres of state land, mainly in the Swan River, Stillwater and Coal Creek state forests in northwest Montana. The state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation manages those lands and directs logging operations there. FWS oversees the state’s compliance with federal Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears and bull trout there.

“They get rid of the idea of undevelopable core habitat for grizzly bears, and replace it with a sort of rest-and-rotation plan,” Earthjustice attorney Tim Presso said Monday. “The idea is to log an area, move to the next area and say the grizzlies can use the area just logged. But that’s not how they use the landscape. They can’t just pick up and move over the hillside to greener pastures.”

The road-building components of the state plan are also inadequate for keeping sediment out of bull trout spawning streams, Presso said. Bull trout grow to adult size in rivers and lakes, but return to small mountain streams to lay their eggs.

Presso said the environmental organizations want FWS to revoke its 50-year permit and ask Montana officials to revise their development and harvest plans. The plans need to ensure they “are not likely to jeopardize” listed species’ survival “to the maximum extent possible.” Presso said the Montana plan doesn’t come close to that standard.

Officials at the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could not be reached for comment Monday.

Reporter Rob Chaney can be reached at 523-5382 or at rchaney@missoulian.com.

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(28) Comments

  1. GaryTinkSanders
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    GaryTinkSanders - March 22, 2013 4:27 pm
    @Gadfly with the comments that you spew I would figure that you would be against ADU's, constructing new buildings on the university golf course and moving the Missoula County Fairgrounds, could you please clarify your position on these issues. I am almost positive you would be against them because they would involve the development and extraction industries, removing vital ground for the deer and other wildlife to forage on and promote over crowding. I again ask would you please clarify yourself since you claim to be the consummate environmentalist.
  2. GaryTinkSanders
    Report Abuse
    GaryTinkSanders - March 21, 2013 8:07 am
    @Gadfly with the comments that you spew I would figure that you would be against ADU's, constructing new buildings on the university golf course and moving the Missoula County Fairgrounds, could you please clarify your position on these issues. I am almost positive you would be against them because they would involve the development and extraction industries, removing vital ground for the deer and other wildlife to forage on and promote over crowding. I again ask would you please clarify yourself since you claim to be the consummate environmentalist.
  3. D
    Report Abuse
    D - March 20, 2013 11:10 am
    Darn straight. And, I agree about the "radical fringe element." We need to STOP calling them "environmentalists." Conflict-based, anti-management is more like it.
  4. D
    Report Abuse
    D - March 20, 2013 11:08 am
    It was just a matter of time before these anti-management, conflict-based groups moved on from milking the well dry by litigating against the Forest Service, and onto the State. The DNRC has been managing the State's lands in an exemplary manner--adhering to SMZ and BMP laws--providing funding to the State's School Trust Fund.

    There was just an article in the Missoulian about how the bull trout are now in recovery--which doesn't matter to these conflict-based groups.

    These self-serving, conflict-based groups are only looking to raid the deep pockets of the State (our tax dollars). Despicable.
  5. D
    Report Abuse
    D - March 20, 2013 10:57 am
    Exactly! The State has been managing their lands in an exemplary manner for years, adhering to the SMZ law--the same BMP on ALL riparian areas, regardless of ownership.
  6. D
    Report Abuse
    D - March 20, 2013 10:54 am
    Well said! It's so tiring to see the "environmentalist" moniker usurped by anyone, regardless of their legitimacy, who wants to litigate against the Forest Service, the State, etc.

  7. GaryTinkSanders
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    GaryTinkSanders - March 19, 2013 10:06 pm
    Mathew how does building a road eliminate grizzly near habitat? Bears like both trails and roads in fact that is where you will see them the most. Tell me what the new criteria for stream buffers will be, the state uses the same SMZ guidelines as everyone else. Matt did you realize that more than just bull trout spawn in these streams including the Westslope Cutthroat and brook trout so why are you trying to stir up peoples emotions with half truths and conjecture?
  8. Bridger43
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    Bridger43 - March 19, 2013 7:37 pm
    Smells of Agenda 21 and ICLEI.
  9. logger
    Report Abuse
    logger - March 19, 2013 7:05 pm
    The radical fringe element squeeks again. Let's see, 83% of Montanans want more logging, while only 10% want less. Good luck hippies. This ain't the forest service.
  10. GaryTinkSanders
    Report Abuse
    GaryTinkSanders - March 19, 2013 6:54 pm
    Missoulian why would you let this article go to print without comments from Montana DNRC, this is a lopsided article without comment from all sides. The decision to run this article is very disappointing to those of us that would like to have all the facts presented during an article, this is like saying an intruder that kicked a door in is a visitor.
  11. BSUjack
    Report Abuse
    BSUjack - March 19, 2013 4:31 pm
    Someone somewhere should come up with a bill that prohibits Enviros from filing lawsuits on any thing they think "might happen" like "possible" pollution,or habitat infringement, a "Fear" that a "endangered,threatened specie" may rarely pass through" whether it animal, vegetable, or mineral that "might be infected or cause cancerous or caustic air pollution." They do this using a so called Environmental impact statement based on the "potential fear" of some environmental damage,unsupported with solid facts. They do this on tax deductible dollars by donated tax evaded dollars by donors. This"Bill" would limit them from filing a lawsuit without an "Economic Impact Statement" that includes the effected environment for multiple uses of the State, County, Cities, Business communities, and its people, industrial jobs,including the increased tax revenue to all. To wit--The Wood Products Industries Loss.
  12. AARGH
    Report Abuse
    AARGH - March 19, 2013 4:22 pm
    RUN A MOOK! You Rock!
  13. speedbow20
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    speedbow20 - March 19, 2013 4:15 pm
    Roger Hewitt,

    What exactly qualifies a person to be anti-wildlife/habitat? Wooden home ownership? Gas vehicle ownership? A republican? Someone who has more than 1 child? A rancher, farmer, hunter? I`m confused at where you draw the line. You seem to hate so many people, especially if they don`t think exactly like you, or refuse to be brainwashed and indoctrinated by your profession, that it`s near impossible to understand your logic. How tragic and lonely it must be way up on your soapbox. How many narcissists can you even fit up there?
  14. anonymous201288
    Report Abuse
    anonymous201288 - March 19, 2013 11:06 am
    People Can't even agree on what an Environmentalist is. Some say they are "dirty people" Some say they are " rich eviro =nuts" some say they are poor. Well there are some of ALL The Above that care about OUR Nation. Thank God it isn't just one group. Then you ALSO have those who ONLY care about themselves and to Hell with America. Well to those people let me say. YOU will be affected right along with the rest of us when the droughts . fires , bees disappears and YOUR food supply diminishes,,timber is gone, and you have to wait fifty year to grow another one. Too late then to TAKE THE TIME to see what is happening to YOUR environment .
  15. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - March 19, 2013 10:57 am
    @Gadfly
    "human population over-crowding"
    Please do me a favor ------------
    and the rest of you left-winger, stop reproduceing left-wingers.

    Now thats LOGIC.
  16. Matthew Koehler
    Report Abuse
    Matthew Koehler - March 19, 2013 10:53 am
    The MT Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation's Habitat Conservation Plan would allow over 1,100 miles of new roads to be built, it eliminates grizzly bear core habitat on the Stillwater State Forest and narrows stream buffers on bull trout spawning streams.
  17. anonymous201288
    Report Abuse
    anonymous201288 - March 19, 2013 10:42 am
    Again another major issue facing our Nation and Some People Again have tunnel vision. If you critical people would take the time to see what is really going on instead of "shooting" down anyone else's view before you see if it is true or not I am sure our nation wouldn't be in such a Mess. The writer is Right about China. They are HERE this week wanting to buy Montana lumber. Their Government has put a STOP to cutting Any Trees as they have Exhausted their supply for building and yes they did make a lot of Chop Sticks and their many other wooden items. It was Gross when with in the last year a hospital was found dumping aborted fetus in the river. Last week THOUSANDS of pigs were dead in the river , The point is where do you think the water comes from in juice made from concentrate or your mandarin oranges ? Surely you don't think we ship it to them ,[ Yet ! ] This is Not the Chinese people, they are good hard working people under a Communist Government.
  18. capnbutch2000
    Report Abuse
    capnbutch2000 - March 19, 2013 10:19 am
    Get it through your head, Missoulian; Those folks are no more environmentalists than are the rest of us.

    This hateful idea of somehow demoting the rest of us is bigoted and dishonest. Everybody cares about environment.

    Many have expertise. As a paper, you have absolutely no right to disenfranchise experts while you favor amateurs.
  19. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - March 19, 2013 10:18 am
    @MiddleFinger
    "You really need glasses." Now let's see who needs glasses.

    I read the article by the Missoulian {asian-importers-meet-etc.} and
    took a very close look at the picture.

    1st the picture showed Mr. Chen Johnson of Wuhan, China,
    photographing blue-stained wood. {No where did I see a sign saying
    GOP.}

    Then the article talked about blue-stained pine and beetle-killed trees.
    At no time did it say "GOP killd trees"

    It continued on about company leaders joining the U of M's Forestry
    and Conservation, along with Mt. Dept. of Natural resources. {Nope
    no GOP here.}

    It then talkes about " roughly 15 percent of all wood products imported
    to China and Korea, amounting to nearly $300 million annually. { I can
    now see the GOP far, far away.}

    Then it says "The Asian demand will continue to grow,he said, making
    a new opportunity for wood-oriented businesses [BINGO!! Opportunity,
    Business. Jobs, Money = GOP] Montana.

    Remember we are talking about beetle-killed tree, and do we have a lot.

    From reading your posts and your co-hort Gadfly "above", I think both
    of you suffer with the same infectious virus, {left-wingers dumbness.}
  20. frenchy
    Report Abuse
    frenchy - March 19, 2013 9:42 am
    Just like Obama, blame the GOP. Well, in my book there is no difference between the Dems and the GOP. It is just a game they play like the good cop, bad cop routine when they are trying to make someone talk. The forest are all mortgaged to the Chinese with this massive debt we have with them. They own it all now so here they are to collect on their debt and the very people that caused it are now complaining about where the wood products are going. Both parties have sold us out. We are heading towards financial collapse at mach three and the greenie-weenies are trying to make money on the taxpayers back. PULL YOUR COLLECTIVE HEADS OUT OF WHATEVER DARK PLACE YOUR HAVE THEM IN!!!
  21. mt365
    Report Abuse
    mt365 - March 19, 2013 8:15 am
    Gadfly is directly involved in urban sprawl.
  22. accobra
    Report Abuse
    accobra - March 19, 2013 6:26 am
    You would think that these people could find a better way to spend their trust funds. How about a bath and wash your hair! Or maybe feed the poor!
    Oh and by the way every time you file a law suit it takes PAPER and there goes another tree!!!!
  23. bigdady
    Report Abuse
    bigdady - March 19, 2013 3:14 am
    I say if the Great Bear needs more land then move him to Zoo town and he can feast on over paid zealots, lets see what great legal minds taste like
  24. John P Weber
    Report Abuse
    John P Weber - March 19, 2013 2:39 am
    Once again the nutball enviros are screaming. These rich enviro-nuts must be stopped. But the only way to do that is too require them to actually find a working mans job which goes against their grain.I highly doubt these enviro's really give a rat about Montana because if they did they would know how to actually earn a living. I'm tired of them always claiming that responsible agency experts are less qualified than the enviro-nuts claim to be. If they had any shred of decency they would quit wasting my tax money on outragous lawsuits.
  25. MiddleFinger
    Report Abuse
    MiddleFinger - March 19, 2013 2:37 am
    You really need glasses.

    http://missoulian.com/news/local/asian-importers-meet-with-western-montana-wood-products-companies/article_84922176-901e-11e2-8a58-0019bb2963f4.html
  26. Gadfly
    Report Abuse
    Gadfly - March 19, 2013 12:27 am
    GOP mindset will jump at opportunity to make money selling lumber to Asian countries regardless of the true costs to ours, such as loss of wildlife habitat. Again, failure of Run-A-Mok to see logic.
  27. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - March 18, 2013 10:34 pm
    @MiddleFinger

    What does the cost of tea in Asia {China},
    have to do with the GOP?
    Here again you sre without logic
  28. MiddleFinger
    Report Abuse
    MiddleFinger - March 18, 2013 9:26 pm


    Sue their buts!

    The insatiable Chinese appetite for timber will leave Montana as barren as the other countries who have sold their souls to Asia.

    I can hear the whining already of jobs, jobs, jobs. Well if you need a communist country to save your sorry butt by destroying your own homeland, then you aren't worth employing.

    Big picture this situation before you complain about the environmentalists, who just happen to be the only ones doing anything to save this Last Best Place.

    Too bad the science-less greedy party of the STUPID (aka GOP) doesn't fear losing the homeland as much as they fear losing their assault rifles.



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