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Groups file lawsuit to stop eastern Idaho gold exploration

Two conservation groups say the federal government violated environmental laws by approving a Canadian company’s plan to search for gold in key wildlife habitat in eastern Idaho.

The Idaho Conservation League and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in a lawsuit filed Tuesday say the U.S. Forest Service needs to halt British Columbia-based Otis Gold Corporation’s 5-year mining exploration project in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

The Forest Service in August approved the project that includes 10 miles of new roads and 140 drill stations.

The conservation groups say the agency didn’t do the necessary environmental review to determine how grizzly bears, Yellowstone cutthroat trout and whitebark pine trees could be harmed.

The U.S. Department of Justice, which represents federal agencies in lawsuits, didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from The Associated Press on Thursday.

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