Reuters news service
Wednesday, September 20, 20235:47 PM ED
Yellowstone area logging approvals challenged over grizzly bear, climate impacts
Sept 20 (Reuters) - Three conservation groups on Wednesday sued the U.S. Forest Service over its approval for logging on federal land bordering Yellowstone National Park, which they said will damage grizzly bear and lynx habitats, and exacerbate climate change.
In a lawsuit filed in Montana federal court, the Center for Biological Diversity and two other groups challenged the service's authorization in August of commercial logging on more than 12 square miles of forest land northwest of Yellowstone, and bulldozing more than 56 miles of new roads in the area.
The groups said logging would damage important habitats for threatened grizzly bears and lynx that are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and would exacerbate climate change by removing hundreds of thousands of trees that absorb and store planet-warming greenhouse gasses.
The lawsuit alleges the Forest Service conducted an inappropriately limited review of those impacts despite its “massive scale,” in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act.
The center, joined by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Council on Wildlife and Fish, asked the court to vacate the approval or block the logging from going forward.
The Forest Service didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The service finalized approval for the logging plan last month, saying it would contribute to the yield of “sustainable” timber while helping to improve the forest's wildfire resilience by removing hazardous fuels, among other goals.
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