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Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Savage

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20179
Nos. 19-35035, (9th Cir., 11/04/2019)

In an unpublished opinion, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part a district court order that lifted an injunction on a logging project in the Kootenai National Forest. Environmental groups sought to enjoin the project again, arguing that the Forest Service's analysis of the project failed to comply with NEPA and the ESA, and thus endangered the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear population. The district court found the group raised no questions on the merits of the order, and thus that an injunction was not warranted. The appellate court affirmed in part, finding that the Forest Service reasonably concluded it was not required to provide a separate analysis of the cumulative impacts of road closure breaches because it determined in its environmental baseline that breaches were not a fundamental factor. The court did, however, find that a ruling in another decision by the same district court concerning the incidental take of grizzly bears on the periphery of their recovery zone potentially undermined the court's reasoning in lifting the injunction in the instant case. The appellate court therefore remanded to the district court to reconsider whether the project suffered from the same incidental take issue that it identified in the other decision.