The Missoulian was correct about several points in the editorial on Sept. 13.
The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is an impressive example of collaboration between groups with differing interests and political affiliations. And this fall indeed brings new momentum for the bill. The level of interest from Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is encouraging and bodes well for the productivity of this legislative session.
What concerns me is the suggestion that Daines come out in support of the bill only if Montana’s Democratic Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus embrace the amendment once backed by Denny Rehberg. The amendment – mandating that “x” amount of acreage be logged before “y” amount of acreage be designated as wilderness – will ensure that both of these processes remain gridlocked in a stack of paperwork and bureaucracy. Timberlands and wilderness areas are both an important part of a healthy forest – one should not be the reward for another.
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I sincerely hope that Daines will jump on board in support of FJRA – as is – and signal to Montana that the legislative stalemate is over. We need lawmakers who are willing to work together in the best interest of Montana as a whole; let FJRA be that example.
Molly Eimers, Missoula