U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued an order in favor of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station on July 22nd. The order came on an appeal of an earlier decision denying Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, Gallatin Wildlife Association and the Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation’s motion to enjoin sheep grazing in the Centennial Mountains along the Montana/Idaho border.

In noting that this was the third round of motions in the third lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs on this matter, the court found again that the threshold for an injunction had not been met. The plaintiffs in this appeal argued irreparable harm would be caused by grazing sheep due in part to claimed new information not included in the environmental decision-making process. They also argued that due to sheep grazing they “cannot enjoy the Continental Divide Trail” for fear of being chased by grizzly bears and “cannot hike with their dogs on the Continental Divide Trail for fear they will be bit by aggressive sheep guard dogs.”

These arguments were augmented by their final claim that sheep grazing would result in irreparable harm to their interest in making the area secure for dispersing grizzly bears.

In a brief decision on the merits – given the court’s knowledge of these issues from the lengthy prior record, the court ruled against the plaintiff’s request for an injunction. The court cited specifically that the information presented was considered in the environmental decision-making process, and the complete lack of any information that the hiking scenarios were likely or that sheep grazing would have adverse effect on grizzly bears.

 

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American Sheep Industry Association

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