Groups lose appeal to block forest grazing
DENVER – Environmental groups that sought to block grazing on some Medicine Bow National Forest land near Laramie, Wyo., lost their appeal Monday.A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver affirmed a U.S. District Court ruling in January against the groups.The Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, the Center for Native Ecosystems, and Forest Guardians were concerned the cattle were causing high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in creeks in the forest’s Pole Mountain section, in violation of the Clean Water Act.The Forest Service did not dispute that there have been readings above state limits. However, it said it was using best management practices to address the high readings and therefore met Wyoming water-quality requirements to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity. The appeals court agreed.The appeals court panel also found that Forest Service officials’ analysis of grazing’s effects on the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, a protected species, was proper. The environmental groups had argued it was flawed.
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