Friday, March 04, 2011

Environmental groups ask judge to bar vehicle routes

Five environmental groups are asking a federal judge to bar 500 miles of expanded motor vehicle routes in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests. Groups are the Quiet Use Coalition of Salida, the national Wilderness Society, the Wildlands CPR of Montana, the Center for Native Ecosystems of Denver and the Great Old Broads for Wilderness of Durango. They jointly sued the U.S. Forest Service Jan. 31 in U.S. District Court in Denver. They allege Jerri Marr, supervisor of the two forests, violated several federal laws by approving, from 2007 through last year, expanded motor vehicle routes in the forests. The lawsuit asserts expansion authorizes "motor vehicle travel on approximately 500 miles of routes that have never been designated" as part of the transportation system of the forests. "As a result, the impacts of motorized vehicle use along these routes has never been considered in a National Environmental Policy Act analysis or Endangered Species Act consultation," which the lawsuit claims is required by those laws. The lawsuit asks for a court order known as an injunction to bar the forest service from initiating expansion on routes that have never had an analysis under the Environmental Policy Act or a consultation under the species act. The five groups claim expanded routes for motorized vehicles damage forests, wildlife, plants, water quality and recreation in numerous ways...more

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