According to the Missoulian, a federal judge has ruled that the US Forest Service failed to adequately study how the Colt Summit timber sale might affect endangered lynx habitat.
As readers may recall, The Wilderness Society, Montana Wilderness Association and National Wildlife Federation – as well as their ‘timber partners’ at Montana Wood Productions Association and Montana Logging Association – actually filed a court brief in support of this timber sale. Last month, some Montana timber mills even launched an all out, $30,000 PR campaign to support the logging project, discredit the plaintiffs and call for many Montana timber sales to be exempted from judicial review.
Meanwhile, others have spoken out against the Colt Summit timber sale, claiming it’s based on false assumptions and that the collaborating conservation groups have been less than honest about facts concerning this timber sale, including the fact that the Forest Service already is moving ahead with all the watershed restoration work. Additional details about the Colt Summit logging project can be found here.
Question: What does this ruling saying about the type of “collaboration” taking place in Montana right now between the timber industry and a handful of well-funded conservation groups? Is the future of national forest management best served when industry gets together with well-funded special interest groups to push through illegal timber sales? Or is it best served when the Forest Service is required to follow the law and best science when managing our public lands?