Groups challenge logging in SD, WY national forestSPEARFISH (AP) — Four conservation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they call "extreme levels" of logging in the Black Hills National Forest of southwest South Dakota and northeast Wyoming.
SPEARFISH (AP) — Four conservation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they call "extreme levels" of logging in the Black Hills National Forest of southwest South Dakota and northeast Wyoming.
The lawsuit was filed Oct. 28 in U.S. District Court in Wyoming. It alleges that the Forest Service has not lived up to earlier promises to protect wildlife and habitat in the 1.2 million acre forest.
"The level of logging on the Black Hills National Forest has been so excessive for so long that wildlife habitat is getting wiped out across much of the Forest, and animals from land snails to northern goshawks to American martens have declined to the point where they may disappear," said John Persell, attorney for the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, one of the four groups. The others are the Western Watersheds Project, the Native Ecosystems Council and the Prairie Hills Audubon Society.
Black Hills National Forest spokesman Frank Carroll told the Black Hills Pioneer that he could not comment on the lawsuit while it is pending.
The Black Hills National Forest management plan was finished in 1997, but appeals by environmental groups forced changes. An amendment that was approved in 2005 increased logging levels, in part to reduce the risk of fire. The Forest Service said at the time that the plan would preserve habitat for dozens of species.
The lawsuit challenges the plan and also calls for a halt to certain timber sales and grazing projects.