By Lyndsie Kiebert
Five conservation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol over the agencies’ decision to move forward with a road restoration project located about two miles south of the Canadian border in North Idaho.
The Bog Creek Road project, located in the Bonners Ferry and Priest Lake ranger districts, includes road repairs necessary to provide Border Patrol agents east-west access to the U.S.-Canada border across the Selkirk Mountains. The 5.6-mile stretch of road would not be open to the public — only to federal agencies.
The USFS and Border Patrol announced approval of the project Jan. 31, garnering immediate pushback from regional conservation organizations who were vocal during the project’s comment period, concerned over how the project could affect endangered species in the area — particularly grizzly bears.
The five plaintiffs named in the lawsuit — filed Tuesday, March 10 — include the Center for Biological Diversity, Idaho Conservation League, Lands Council, Selkirk Conservation Alliance and WildEarth Guardians.
“The Idaho Panhandle National Forests, including the project area, contain crucial habitat for a variety of imperiled wildlife, including grizzly bears, mountain caribou, Canada lynx, wolverines, and bull trout,” the complaint reads.
The plaintiffs contend that the USFS and Border Patrol violated “numerous environmental laws” in moving forward with the project, including the National Forest Management Act and National Environmental Policy Act.
Read the full complaint at biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases.
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