Greens Sue BNSF For Grizzlies Killed By Trains Without Safety Measures

"Wildlife groups aren’t sure what is worse: That trains have killed more than 63 grizzly bears in northern Montana since 2018, or that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad has seemed to ignore requests to help alleviate the problem.

So two groups, WildEarth Guardians and Western Watershed Project, have sued BNSF Railway for ignoring the Endangered Species Act as well as failing to take actions to lessen the number of grizzly bears killed on railways.

BNSF officials did not return messages when contacted on Thursday afternoon.

Of particular interest is the BNSF rail line, which runs from Shelby, Montana, to Sandpoint, Idaho, across the federally designated Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which includes the Cabinet-Yaak range. That’s 206 miles of track that BNSF uses or leases to other companies and runs through both national forests as well as the southern border of Glacier National Park.

BNSF has applied for years to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which can authorize “incidental take” permits that would exempt the railroad from penalty for trains that strike bears. But in a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Missoula on Thursday, attorneys for the environmental organizations argue that the federal government has never issued the permits, and therefore the grizzly bears that have been killed have been illegal."

Darrell Ehrlick reports for States Newsroom December 14, 2023.

Source: States Newsroom, 12/15/2023