Court Rejects Mont. Challenge

Published October 1, 2006

A federal judge in Montana took less than four months to throw out two environmental activist challenges to a forest management plan in the Bitterroot National Forest.

In an August 1 decision, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy rejected a request for an emergency injunction against a wildfire fuel reduction project scheduled for next year. The goal of the project is to avoid a repeat of the massive wildfires that swept through the area in 2000.

Molloy’s August 1 decision leaves intact an earlier ruling that environmental activist groups failed to show they had a “fair chance” of showing the Forest Service violated environmental laws in drafting its forest management plan.

Although the activist groups may still challenge the forest management plan, they may not force the Forest Service to abandon its plan while litigation continues.

James M. Taylor