Bozeman Man Sues Governor and DNRC Over National Forest Recommen - News, Sports and Weather

Bozeman Man Sues Governor and DNRC Over National Forest Recommendations

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BOZEMAN - A Bozeman man has filed a lawsuit against the Governor and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The suit alleges the state's recommendation to treat millions of national forests did not follow the necessary steps required in the constitution.

Steve Kelly filed the lawsuit in Gallatin County District on Tuesday. He claims the Governor did not ask for public comment when he recommended to log more than five-million acres of U.S. Forest Service Land under the 2014 farm bill.

"They are federal lands. He really has no jurisdiction over these lands," said Kelly.

In the lawsuit, he said when the decision was made, the public was not informed during the process.

"He also made a choice to do that without the public's participation, without noticing the public properly and without having open public meetings," said Kelly.

He said something like this violates Montana's constitution.

"Governor business needs to be the publics business. They work for us and this is where this went off the rails early on with these closed door conference calls," said Kelly.

Governor Bullock defends the project, saying it is a thought-out solution for managing the forests.

A written statement from the Governor states quotes "We proposed a responsible plan that seeks to break the gridlock that has, for too long prohibited thoughtful management of our federal lands."

Kelly hopes the court will void the Governor's decision and begin the process again with public participation this time.

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