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Settlement reached in research station lawsuit

By Associated Press
Published On: Feb 04 2014 11:36:15 AM MST
WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Federal wildlife officials must conduct another assessment of the effect that sheep grazing at a southwestern Montana research station have on grizzly bears in the area.
    
The requirement is part of a settlement of a May 2013 lawsuit filed by the Western Watersheds Project and four other environmental groups. They argued a November 2011 biological opinion that determined the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station would not jeopardize grizzly bears didn't take into account the deaths of several grizzly bears over the past eight years.
    
The settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill of Idaho on Feb. 1. It gives the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until June 1 to issue a new opinion. The government cannot graze sheep on summer pastures in Montana before July 1.