HELENA, Mont. -

A federal judge has blocked another Montana logging project because the U.S. Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Services did not take the proper steps to determine whether lynx may be in the area.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen on Monday halted the timber sale over 15,600 acres in the Big Belt mountains until the two agencies assess whether the protected species may be harmed.
Christensen says the agencies concluded lynx do not occupy the area, but the federal Endangered Species Act requires them to determine merely whether lynx "may be present" there.
It was that same error that led Christensen to block a 3,000-acre project in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest last month.
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council sued to stop both logging projects.