The most interesting aspect of this story, is the fact that it marks one of the few environmental or forestry cases that did NOT go to US District Judge Don Molloy in Missoula. In the game of judge shopping, Molloy usually winds up with most of these cases, given the fact that Region 1 headquarters for the US Forest Service is in Missoula.
That being said, the Montana Wilderness Association is appealing a ruling by US District Judge Sam Haddon overturning portions of the travel plan for the Little Belt mountains. According to the Billings Gazette:
Haddon’s decision opened up areas in the Middle Fork of the Judith Wilderness Study Area to motor vehicle use that were closed in the forest’s 2007 travel management plan.
Meanwhile, it’s been quite comical to watch the continuing saga of the “War of the Press Secretaries” as Senator Tester and Congressman Rehberg’s staff sent out dueling press releases concerning access to public land by film crews here in Montana. Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) is co-sponsoring legislation urging a streamlined permitting process for small camera crews on public lands.
Senator Jon Tester’s (D-MT) staff also says he is urging the BLM and the Forest Service to streamline the permitting process to allow small-scale video production crews more access to America’s public lands.
“Small video crews are often small businesses and we should do everything we can to give them the tools to do their work responsibly in Montana without having to cut through bureaucratic red tape,” according to Tester’s release.
Rehberg’s press release added:
Rehberg has a distinguished history of fighting to increase public access on public lands, and not just for camera crews.
Makes you wonder how the access question fares under Senator Tester’s proposed wilderness bill. Maybe Kerry White should rename his group, “Citizens for Balanced Use of ATV’s and Video Cameras.”