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Swan View Coalition v. Weber

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20226
Nos. 13-129, (D. Mont., 09/25/2014) (Molloy, J.)

A district court granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment in a case involving logging projects in the Flathead National Forest. In the case, environmental groups challenged the Forest Service's and FWS' authorization of the Glacier Loon Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project and their failure to conduct environmental analysis for decisions regarding the "Legacy Lands" acquisition, operating procedures, and subsequent logging projects in the grizzly bear and lynx analysis areas for the Project. The court agreed with the groups that the promulgation of operating procedures and site-specific logging projects require analysis under NEPA and the ESA. In addition, the Forest Service's "no effect" determination for bull trout and water howellia was arbitrary and capricious, and the Forest Service failed to follow the necessary procedures under the ESA after reaching a "may affect" conclusion for the wolverine. The Forest Service also applied the incorrect standard under Amendment 19 of the Forest Plan, which provides protection for grizzly bears. But in all other respects, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the agencies. On remand, the agencies must perform the necessary analysis and follow the necessary procedures under the ESA for water howellia, bull trout, and wolverine and must reassess their analysis regarding the grizzly bear. The court therefore enjoined the agencies from implementing the Glacier Project until the necessary analysis has been performed.