(CN) – The Forest Service broke the law to allow logging in Montana’s Lewis and Clark National Forest, threatening goshawk and elk habits, two environmental groups claim in Bozeman, Mont., Federal Court. The Native Ecosystems Council and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies challenged the Ettien Ridge Fuels Reduction Project.
The environmentalists say the Forest Service’s approval of logging will illegally disturb elk winter range, increase road density beyond allowed levels, and destroy goshawk nesting and foraging habitat.
The Forest Service’s environmental assessment did not consider alternatives, used inaccurate methods of big-game analysis, and inaccurate methods of monitoring goshawks, the groups claim.
The goshawk is a predatory bird that relies on old-growth forest to survive.
The environmentalists want the court to overturn the agency’s finding of no significant impact for the project.
Their lead counsel is Purcie Bennett with the Cottonwood Environmental Law Center in Bozeman.