Judge rules for Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest in lawsuit over plan

A U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest on a legal challenge brought forward by several nonprofit groups to the forest’s 2021 Land Management Plan.

Judge Donald W. Molloy of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana filed a 29-page decision Oct. 11 that focused on wildlife claims under federal law.

The Helena Hunters & Anglers Association, Western Watersheds Project, the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians claimed the U.S. Forest Service’s 2021 decision to remove big game standards from the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Plan violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act.

The Helena–Lewis and Clark National Forest

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

When they filed the lawsuit on July 19, they noted the standards had guided have guided wildlife habitat management of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest for 30 years.

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Molloy noted that while the plan does omit these standards, it incorporates direction from the 2018 forest plan amendments for grizzly bear and zones with

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