sierra club

U.S. Forest Service

Commenters on the proposed Shoshone National Forest management plan favor conservation, according to a new analysis by several environmental groups.

The U.S. Forest Service received more than 23,000 comments on the proposed plan. The analysis focuses on the roughly 1,000 of those that aren't form letters. Connie Wilbert, with the Sierra Club of Wyoming, helped with the analysis. She says the results weren't unexpected.

The Sierra Club and partner organizations filed a lawsuit today against BNSF Railways and several coal producers. The suit claims the companies are violating the federal Clean Water Act when they discharge coal dust along railways from the Powder River Basin without permits to do so.

Pacific Northwest Regional Press Secretary for Sierra Club’ Beyond Coal campaign, Krista Collard, says a letter of intent to file the suit was sent to all parties two months ago, but they did little to limit coal dust pollution.

The deadline for public comments for the proposed Shoshone National Forest plan is Monday.  It’s the first plan for the forest in 25 years. 

The plan has generated a lot of interest from multiple-use groups who want to expand areas of access.  The Sierra Club’s Connie Wilbert believes the plan could allow more motorized use, and that concerns her.

"The problem is that the illegal, unauthorized trails that go off of the legal trails are an enormous problem on the forest right now,” Wilbert said. “They’re getting worse every year."

Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit seeking to derail efforts by the federal government to lease an estimated 2 billion tons of coal near two major Wyoming mines.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. targets four recent and proposed coal lease sales in the Powder River Basin.

The Sierra Club and Wild Earth Guardians say mining and burning coal from the federal leases would release huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, exacerbating climate change.