State of Wyoming to join lawsuit over forest plan

Governor Matt Mead recently announced Wyoming has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit, in order to defend an amendment to the Black Hills Forest Plan. The amendment was developed by the Black Hills National Forest, Wyoming and South Dakota to maintain forest health. Several environmental groups including the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, the Native Ecosystems Council and the Prairie Hills Audubon Society and sued the U.S. Forest Service over the amendment. The groups allege that wildlife habitat is put at risk by what they call “excessive logging” and grazing.

“Thousands of acres of forest land in Wyoming are under attack by bark beetles. It is necessary to find ways to slow their spread,” Governor Mead said. “I believe it is necessary to join with the Forest Service to protect forest health and to use proven techniques for bark beetle mitigation.”

The case is in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.

“We want the Forest Service to be able to manage fires and insects, to sustain habitat for species and protect multiple use objectives in forests,” Governor Mead said. “Bark beetles are devastating to forests and unless trees are removed the entire forest is at risk.”