Judge halts logging project in Little Belt Mountains, upholds Forest Service in other claims

A federal court judge has halted a logging project on federal public land in the Little Belt Mountains in response to a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups but also ruled in favor of the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on several of the other claims.

The June 27 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen out of Missoula was in regard to a lawsuit filed in 2021 by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council over the Horsefly Project, about 12 miles north of White Sulphur Springs, in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.

The two groups challenged the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to approve the 20.600-acre Horsefly Project, Little Belts Travel Plan and the forest plan amendment for the Horsefly Project.

“We look forward to complying with this ruling so we can implement the work proposed in the Horsefly project,” Emily Platt, supervisor for the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, said.

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 The project is aimed at improving forest health and landscape resiliency, reduce wildfire hazards, and provide wood products to local and regional economies, court documents state.

U.S. Magistrate Kathleen

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