New Lawsuit Filed Over Forest Priorities

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — A new lawsuit has been filed over Gov. Steve Bullock’s nomination of 5.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service land for priority management.

The complaint filed last week by Wildwest Institute, Conservation Congress and Friends of the Bitterroot is the second since Bullock forwarded his choices for expedited restoration and management to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in April.

The Independent Record reports the groups allege the state violated open meetings laws and the right to public participation when a committee advised the governor on which forest lands to choose.

The groups say no notice was given of the committee’s meetings and no minutes were recorded.

The lawsuit asks a state judge to void the nominations. Administration officials declined comment.

Steve Kelly of Bozeman filed a similar lawsuit last month.