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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Conservation groups sue to stop Forest Service Mud Creek project

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Thursday, January 18, 2024   

Montana environmental groups have filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service to stop a large logging project in the Bitterroot National Forest.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies contended the project threatens species habitat and clean water. As part of the Mud Creek project, the Forest Service would bulldoze 43 miles of new roads into the Bitterroot, burn more than 40,000 acres, carve a 2.5 mile-long trail for motorized vehicles into the forest, and log almost 14,000 acres, 4,800 of which would be clear-cut.

Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said the Mud Creek project would devastate the affected section of the Bitterroot in northwest Montana.

"The name of the project said it all: Mud Creek," Garrity explained. "This watershed is bull trout critical habitat, so bulldozing in all these new roads and clear-cutting this many acres means sediment from these roads, combined with runoff from the logging and burning, will flow into streams."

The Forest Service contended the project will reduce potential fire severity and improve wildlife habitat.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies is suing the Forest Service under the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the government to do an in-depth Environmental Impact Statement before creating projects like Mud Creek.

Garrity argued the Forest Service didn't follow the laws.

"They're not telling the public where or when they're going to log or burn," Garrity emphasized. "The public has no idea how much it will affect streams with bull trout in them, or how many old-growth forests will be cut down."

The suit awaits action in federal court.

Disclosure: The Alliance for the Wild Rockies contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species and Wildlife, and the Environment. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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