By MATT VOLZ – AP
A federal appeals court ruling Wednesday will allow construction to begin on a $59 million dam on Montana’s Yellowstone River that wildlife advocates say could doom an endangered ancient fish species.
But the legal fight isn’t over yet, and the U.S. government agency leading the project near the Montana-North Dakota border will wait for a separate court ruling before deciding how to proceed.
“This is an important step to move forward with this project to protect the endangered pallid sturgeon and other fish in the river while continuing to assure that irrigation needs are met,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Jamie Danesi said.
The three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife did not prove the project would cause irreparable harm to the river’s pallid sturgeon.